Till June 4th 2016
The buzz surrounding new Broadway addition Hamilton has reached unparalleled heights, with talks of this play being the hottest ticket in town now, and for the unforeseeable future. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rap musical about the founding father Alexander Hamilton is as revolutionary as you would expect, with shockingly sharp wit and a level of intellect that sears the brain and leaves a lasting impact.
Hamilton broke onto the scene last spring when it sold out entirely in the Public Theater, leading to an automatic move to one of the most coveted Broadway spots at the Richard Rodgers Theater. Not only are the accolades constantly flowing, but the play has also been grossing more than $1 million on a weekly basis since performances began last month.
Hamilton teaches us about the makings of America, and with that daunting prospect is a play close to three hours long. Though it sounds like an inconceivably lengthy amount of time to be sitting in a theater, the play passes at the most accelerated speed thanks to the power of the score and the highly intelligent and articulate rap lyrics.
This is an unbelievably modern approach to one of the oldest American tales. Miranda is a genius, expertly weaving the tension between Alexander Hamilton’s personal ambition and his drive to undergo a national mission.
Miranda plays the founding father Hamilton, who is most commonly known as the face on our $10 bill. Miranda, however, takes on this role with so much gusto and flair that it seems almost impossible to have had next to zero prior information about this man.
Hamilton, like the other early American patriots, landed on these shores as any other homeless, impoverished immigrant. With actors of color playing the majority of the roles, those past truths pertaining to immigration ring just as true in today’s bright light.
Hamilton reclaims America’s story as the tale of outsiders filled with anthems of ambition, idealism and rebellion against authority.
Miranda brandishes the American flag with a fiery fervor that can’t be beat– he gives us the ultimate performance of a man torn between genius and manic revolutionary intent. Hamilton, a man so concerned about running out of time, spews rhymes at such an accelerated pace that they pulse as if they have a life of their own. The words don’t just breathe; they gasp and beg for more air, enveloping and consuming the entire auditorium. Miranda clearly understands that Hamilton’s story is wrapped up in a sense of urgency, desperation and hunger.
The score is on another level of excellence, with such intense skill exhibited that the first 100 pages of Ron Chernow’s biography on Alexander Hamilton is summarised in a jaunty, five-minute song. The rap gives the audience all the information needed, with its interlocking segmented rhymes and strong cadences displaying the epitome of Hamilton’s (and Miranda’s) intelligence and highly articulate manner.
Could there be a better history lesson about this founding father than learning about the American Revolution alongside a hip hop beat? When observing the audience, it is evident that people of all ages are immersed in the production, clinging on to every word and every note. After all, the universal appeal of a crossover audience is an unmistakable sign of a groundbreaking show. Feet can barely keep still; perhaps the biggest challenge is restraining any urge to jump out of your seat and start dancing. You exit feeling totally exhilarated, having watched a cultural supernova and been part of an instant milestone.