An acquaintance asked me what “Hamilton” was about. My first reaction was to be smug and say that it was about three hours.
I thought a minute and replied, “It’s about the best Broadway production I’ve ever seen. It’s about giving the audience a history lesson that is easy to understand and enjoyable to watch.”
It’s about as good as it gets!
While teaching us about the history of our nation, Lin-Manuel Miranda has written a classic, filled with exciting music, dance, movement and rap that you can relate to.
About that rap: the lyrics are clever, articulate, funny, poignant and accessible, proving that the genre can be classified as an art, just like good poetry and music.
Hamilton’s (Edred Utomi) story is told from his immigration to America, through the war years, through his political career, right up to his fatal duel with Aaron Burr (Josh Tower).
As important as what is told is how it is told.
The huge cast is in constant motion, always moving gracefully (like synchronized swimmers, my friend PJ observed). Scenes flow smoothly on the huge set, aided by a rotating circle, with props moving in and out in synch with the action and music.
And oh, the music! From magnificent solos backed by a chorus of synchronized singer/dancers to clever, understandable rap that feels like you are watching an opera (in English), “Hamilton” mesmerizes us with sights and sounds.
At times, especially after a major production number, you watch the actors in a tableaux, while the lights dim and the story moves forward.
There is comic relief, especially from Peter Matthew Smith as King George. There are a few clever, fairly subtle political statements (the one about immigration is a beauty), and of course there’s the history lesson, like nothing you ever had in school.
Lighting, costumes, sound, choreograph-all those elements we take for granted-are all first class, as is the singing, dancing and acting performed by a talented color-blind, diversified cast.
So, what’s it all about?
It’s about a Broadway show that goes that extra mile to produce a classic that has the whole world talking and will surely break all the records in the book.
A limited number of seats are still available for the July 30-August 11 performances of “Hamilton.” Tickets can be purchased at the PPAC Box Office, at ppacri.org, or by phone at 421-ARTS.
My daughter saw the show in Chicago, where it has broken all records, and suggested that before I go I should Google “Hamilton-lyrics” and read the synopsis and the song lyrics. For those with a hearing problem (me), get there a bit early and pick up a free set of earphones. The sound comes right from the actors’ mikes and makes it much easier to understand.