4 reasons to go see ‘Hamilton’

This CD cover image released by Atlantic Records shows the Broadway cast album for “Hamilton: An American Musical.” (Atlantic Records via AP)
Caption
This CD cover image released by Atlantic Records shows the Broadway cast album for “Hamilton: An American Musical.” (Atlantic Records via AP)

Don’t throw away your shot to see “Hamilton: An American Musical” as the pop culture blockbuster continues to make waves in its Midwest premiere in Chicago and has its sights set on Ohio in the future.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s exceptional portrait of a dawning America molded by the “ten-dollar Founding Father without a father” has taken the country by storm and rightly so. Nothing of its kind has been seen or felt since Jonathan Larson’s 1996 Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical “Rent” particularly in terms of growing the next generation of musical theater audiences. Broadway couldn’t have asked for a better demographic life-saver in uncertain financial times.

It’s easy to get caught up in or disbelieve the “Hamilton” hype considering how mainstream the show has become. Even so, having seen the Broadway production shortly after it opened in the summer of 2015, I can assure you the dazzling, thought-provoking material, based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, is phenomenally conceived and executed. The show is all that you would it expect it to be and more. Here are a few reasons why you should see it.

A STORY RIPE FOR OUR TIMES

An immigrant from the Caribbean who secured the confidence of George Washington during the Revolutionary War and ultimately became the nation’s first Treasury Secretary, Hamilton is the poster child for the American Dream. The notion that America could be a land of opportunity for anyone with the desire for something better is engrained in his journey. It wasn’t smooth sailing for Hamilton by any means (his son Philip died following a duel), but his inquisitiveness, determination, and go-getting attitude is symbolic of the American spirit. Still, the sheer relevance that he was a scrappy immigrant full of hope, as well as a scholar and a loving husband and father, cannot be ignored in today’s current climate.

INCLUSIVE CASTING IS KEY

“Hamilton” absolutely looks like an inclusive America. How many musicals can say that? Miranda could have gone the traditional route and ensured an all-Caucasian company would properly mirror the18th century backdrop. Instead, he realized the show needed to reflect the audience that would see it. In other words, diverse representation would be a key factor, particularly affording African-Americans opportunities to portray Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson. Miranda states in a 2015 interview, “I will find the right language to make sure that the beautiful thing that people love about our show and allows them identification with the show is preserved when this show goes out into the world.”

TERRIFIC TUNES WITH A CONTEMPORARY MINDSET

An equal admirer of Stephen Sondheim and Jay-Z, Miranda refreshingly took his passion for musical theater and hip-hop and meshed them into a collective stew that changed the landscape for original Broadway scores. In fact, “The Schuyler Sisters,” a sassy introduction of the wealthy trio that would pivotally catch Hamilton’s eye, notably pulsates in an intoxicating hip-hop/pop blend. “The Room Where It Happens” is also a standout moment morphing show tune sensibilities with a hip-hop urgency. Due to Miranda’s dizzying lyrics, you might want to hear the cast recording first to better familiarize yourself with certain interactions.

ACROSS THE BOARD ACCLAIM

“Hamilton” received a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations ultimately winning 11. The show also received the Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award. Miranda, a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, was awarded the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and the Dramatists Guild of America’s Frederick Loewe Award for Musical Composition. The cast album was specifically ranked second by Billboard in its “25 Best Albums of 2015” and ranked eighth by Rolling Stone in its “50 Best Albums of 2015.”


WANT TO GO?

Chicago: Private Bank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Limited number of tickets available through Sept. 17 by visiting Ticketmaster.com. Wayne Brady notably portrays Aaron Burr through April 9.

Cincinnati: "Hamilton" is part of the 2018-2019 Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Cincinnati Series. Patrons are encouraged to subscribe to the 2017-2018 season in order to be among the first to snag tickets as part of the 2018-2019 subscription renewal. Visit Cincinnati.broadway.com.

Cleveland: The Ohio premiere of "Hamilton" is part of the 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series. Tickets are not on sale but patrons are encouraged to subscribe to the season. Visit broadway.playhousesquare.org. The national touring cast features Talawanda High School graduate and 2016 University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music graduate Raven Thomas in the ensemble.

INSIDE: When will “Hamilton” come to Dayton? PAGE 2