But is it actually any good, you ask? In fact it is pretty darn fabulous. Attempting to put all the hype and hysteria aside HAMILTON is an audacious, energetic, intelligent and thrilling piece of theatre created by Lin Manuel-Miranda that magically combines his passion for rap/hip-hop/R&B with an encyclopedic knowledge of musical theatre history. We’ve had shows before that have tried to bring a modern sound to the theatre but it’s Miranda’s deep knowledge of what makes for a great musical that ensures HAMILTON succeeds so spectacularly.
Based on Ron Chernow’s epic biography, the show tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, the “bastard, orphan, son of a whore” who went on to become one of the United States’ founding fathers. Skillfully melding both the personal and political, Miranda’s book, music and lyrics manage to present an intricate political portrait of the creation of the United States while at the same time providing a thoughtful and emotional portrait of Hamilton’s marriage and family life.
In a brilliant stroke, Miranda and the show’s director Thomas Kail, have cast the founding fathers with a young, racially diverse company whose simple visual presence act as a powerful metaphor for modern America. Add the rapping and carefully chosen modern references and you’ve got history brought to life in a manner that even your most blasé teenager could not ignore.
Most of the original actors have now, sadly, left the show and while it is unfair to make comparisions based on the cast album, I couldn’t help felling that some of the new performers were not quite up to snuff. The two remaining originals, Tony Award winning Renee Elise Goldsberry and Christopher Jackson stand out with their emotionally thrilling and vocally commanding portrayals.
At the performance I saw the current alternate Michael Luwoye,who performs the part twice a week, played Hamilton. While his vocals where impressive he simply didn’t convey the genius, passion and gravitas that all the other characters keep insisting he possesses.
Complementing Kail’s imaginative direction is the absolutely stunning choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler. The show never stops moving and the chorus of this show must be the hardest working on Broadway.
Did I have any misgivings? Perhaps not being American I wasn’t quite as spellbound by the story of the USA’s birth as was the rest of the native audience. I will be looking closely to see how the show is received in the UK.
However my guess is it will be a smash and I recommend you get your ticket before the touts arecharging £1000 for a seat in the stalls.