Hamilton – Everything you heard is true, plus more…
What you’ve heard about Hamilton is all true- it absolutely lives up to its 2016 Tony Award for Best Musical. The Chicago production that opened at the Private Bank Theatre back in September is as explosive and well done as you expect the Broadway production to be. The story is captivating, the music is new and exciting, and the cast is lively and fun.
Chicago gives the show a life of its own
Coming in off the Broadway production, it seemed like Chicago was going to have big shoes to fill. However, the Chicago company brings their own unique styles to make each of the characters their own. Though the company seems to be a bit younger and greener than the original Broadway cast, it gives them room to be more energetic with their characters. They have larger movements and bigger personalities, especially Chris De’Sean Lee playing both Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. He jumps around on stage and has a signature eyebrow raised look he continuously gives the audience. His presence onstage is youthful and steals the scene whenever he’s on.
There are also added funny moments of breaking the fourth wall you wouldn’t have expected just from listening to the soundtrack, which makes it all that much sweeter when you are eventually able to see the sold-out show. Take King George III, played by Alexander Gemignani, for example. He interacts with the orchestra conductor during his songs, telling him when to end his songs and when to keep going. Gemignani plays his part as comedic relief extremely well.
The Hamiltons stealing the show
Other fantastic character performances came from Eliza Hamilton, played by Ari Afsar, and Alexander Hamilton himself, played by Miguel Cervantes. Afsar seemed to start off shaky in her first song, “Helpless,” but got her feelings of unconditional love for Hamilton across with all smiles and a naïve innocence. However, it was her rendition of “Burn” that really packed a punch and showed the complete one-eighty that happens to Eliza after Hamilton reveals his affair with another woman. It was delivered with such confidence and strength that it will give you goosebumps.
Cervantes also had a stand-out performance by giving us Hamilton with a more mature disposition. However, don’t be fooled. The maturity is equally matched with passion and energy to create his multi-faceted character. His voice is clear, strong, and carries the title role impressively.
Together these two show us the complicated but beautiful relationship the Hamiltons had. Especially with a moment in “It’s Quiet Uptown” when the two reconcile after their son’s death. Both Eliza and Hamilton are standing center and Eliza slowly takes Hamilton’s hand. AFsar and Cervantes show the love these two had without having to say a word.
A memorable and heartfelt experience
Hamilton is writer/creator Lin Manuel-Miranda’s second hip-hop musical, after In the Heights. But Hamilton strikes a different chord with audiences here. He truly has created a story of America then, told by America now. This musical has everything, which is what drew Manuel-Miranda to Hamilton’s story in the first place. It has war, fighting, politics, friendships, loss, hope, scandal, sadness, but most importantly love.
Hamilton gives you something to hope for. His life was filled with turmoil and conflict, and for the most part his life was forgotten. But with this musical we think about who our closest companions are, who we can turn to, who will remember us, who will tell our story. Hamilton is the whole package and will make you want to listen to the soundtrack to experience it again and again.
Now through January 7, 2018
Tuesdays at 7:30pm
Wednesdays at 1:30pm and 7:30pm
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 7:30pm
Saturdays at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
Sundays at 2:00pm
The PrivateBank Theatre
18 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60603
*Parking available downtown
*Accessible via Metra and CTA
Tickets are available for performances through January 7, 2018 at The PrivateBank Theatre Box Office, the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line (800-775-2000) and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.
There is a maximum purchase limit of 6 tickets per household.
Tickets range from $65 - $180 for regular performances with select number of premium seats available for all performances and some increased pricing during the holidays.
There is a digital lottery for forty-four day-of-show tickets which will be sold for every performance for $10 each. For further details on the day-of-show digital lottery, visit www.broadwayinchicago.com/HamiltonLotteryFAQ.
This review was excerpted in Theatre in Chicago.