Helpless: a Hamilton review.
I discovered Hamilton just a couple of months ago, while I was visiting a friend in North Carolina. Late bloomer, I know, but it only took one listen for me to get hooked. From that point on, there was no turning back; I needed to learn every single lyric as if I was in the show myself.
For those of you who haven’t heard about it, Hamilton is a sung-through musical that celebrates diversity while telling the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Created by Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show currently has companies in two cities (New York and Chicago), a national tour about to start and a London residency in the works. You may know Miranda from his previous broadway success In The Heights and, more recently, for creating the soundtrack to the Disney movie, Moana.
Although it is currently sold-out through 2018, I was able to get a ticket for a performance last tuesday and it was worth every penny (there were a lot of pennies involved). From the first notes to the very last breath, the show takes you through a whirlwind of emotions and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Mixing rap with ballads and a little bit of showtunes, Hamilton is completely different than any Broadway show you will ever see. Every line hits you with a sharpness like no other.
Every cast member is absolutely breathtaking and you can see that a lot of work was put into casting this show. From ensemble to the Schuyler Sisters to Hamilton's revolutionary squad, each individual brings something to the table and builds up to create a form of art like none other. The talent that oozes out of this cast is out of this world and is sure to impress you as well. The choreography is extremely precise, the musical numbers are extravagant and the raps are incredibly fast. Anyone who takes on a part in this show has to be able to keep up and let me tell you, everyone in this cast was more than just able to keep up. They killed it.
Although everyone in the cast blew me away, there were definitely some who stood out for me.
Playing the dual role of John Laurens and Phillip Hamilton, Jordan Fisher is a star. His presence on stage is vibrant and his undeniable charm makes it hard to focus on anything else happening on stage. From drunken loud mouth Laurens to an hyperactive 9-year old Hamilton, Fisher will make you laugh as well as cry throughout both acts.
J Quinton Johnson was also another discovery in the show. Portraying the very different Hercules Mulligan and James Madison, he goes from a strong revolutionary man to a frail sick politician with incredible ease. His solo in Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) is incredibly powerful and really showcases how great of a performer he is.
As far as comedic relief goes, Taran Killam really takes the cake in Hamilton. Performing as King George III, his role may only be nine minutes of stage time but it is one of the shining moments of the show. From the first line of You’ll Be Back, the audience falls in love with the king and gets excited every time he returns to the stage. Taran’s comedic background truly shows within the role and takes his performance to the next level.
The show I was at also happened to be alternate Hamilton Michael Luwoye’s last show with the Broadway cast. He played a great Hamilton and his emotional performance really brought the whole show together. Although Michael is leaving the Broadway cast, he will be joining the national tour as Alexander Hamilton.
If you happen to be in New York, Chicago or any of the cities where the national tour will stop in, I highly suggest seeing the show. It was truly an incredible experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. If you can’t find the patience to wait two years to see it, I highly suggest trying your luck in the cancellation line.
You can purchase tickets here and if you’re feeling lucky, both the New York and Chicago companies offer a lottery for 10$ tickets here.