On Wednesday, I finally got to see Hamilton the musical at the Orpheum Playhouse, with my dear friend Hanah and her sister Arielle. It's one of the most powerful theatrical experiences I've ever had in my life.
Like thousands of others, I binged on the music for months prior to going to the show, to prepare for the experience. I'm really glad I did. Rather than diminish the production, seeing songs I already knew well performed live, with full orchestration, beautifully staged, backed by incredible dancing, was just mind-blowing.
Some of my favorites from the show:
- "My Shot" (of course)
- "The Shuyler Sisters" - wonderfully spirited
- "You'll Be Back" - Rory O'Malley as King George was all sass
- "Wait for It" - Joshua Henry killed this Aaron Burr number
- "What'd I Miss" - such a fun song, and wonderfully performed by Jordan Donica as Thomas Jefferson
Props to the dancers and choreographer Andy Blankenbuelher for bringing hip-hop energy to some challenging material and costuming. I saw so many great moments where the dancers captured the idea being expressed and brought it to life. I kind of need to see it again to catch more of the subtlety of their movement and energy.
The staging is actually quite simple for such a big production. Basically a multilevel, generic early-America room with a couple of stair-cases and a rear landing. But the lighting! Hanah pointed out how much the lighting brought home visually what was happening on stage.
Our audience was totally into it, shouting and cheering all the way through. The biggest applause came during the famous "Immigrants, we get the job done," line. For me, I had a hard time cheering or saying anything at all, I was so moved and awestruck. That's a first for me.
I don't have much negative to say about the show. The principal is no longer Lin-Manuel Miranda, and I did miss him. Michael Luwoye did a fine job. His singing and rapping are pretty great. But he didn't really nail the role for me. I didn't really buy his relationship to Eliza or Angelica, unfortunately.
But that barely detracted from the production. The book is just so damn good. And the cast is so talented and impressive.
Yes it's a lot of money to spend on one show. But what a show. What an incredible work of art. And such an important message for our time about leadership, democracy, and fighting for your rights.
Excuse me while I head to the website to see if I can win the lottery to see it again...