Feel free to skip this post if you don't care about Hamilton: An American Musical because that's all I'm gonna talk about. And then go ahead and unfriend me, because, who even are you?! I kid, I kid! But seriously, if you don't read this, I don't mind. I'm about to nerd out real hard.

I was really late to the Hamilton party. I actually hadn't heard about it until February 2016 when Rosie O'Donnell was on The Late Late Show with James Corden. It had just been announced that he was going to host The Tonys and he and Rosie broke into the song Alexander Hamilton. A few weeks later the same song opened The Grammys via satellite! I immediately googled it and found out it was done by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the same guy that wrote and starred in In The Heights, which Jacob and I saw on Broadway in 2009. I downloaded the soundtrack and have listened to it about once a week since then, bought the book, read every article, watched every clip, interview, special, and video I could find, and fell in love with the story, the songs, and each member of the cast.

I knew that going to see the show in NYC was completely out of the question because even celebrities were having a hard time getting crazy expensive tickets. I pushed the thought out of my head and planned on waiting for the tour to come through Seattle in a few years. But then, Chicago started an open-ended run last fall. I'd been asking Jacob to go on a trip to Chicago for years. We've flown into O'Hare and spent time in Rockford, IL with family, but he never saw it as a city he'd like to visit. It's my brother's favorite place in the US and a friend moved there a year ago and loves it, so I had been wanting to go even more. When I brought this up to Jacob in January, he finally agreed that it'd be a fun little trip and got tickets to the musical for my birthday.

We picked a great few days to spend in sunny Chicago, but I'll recap our trip in a later post. Hamilton was the highlight, hands down. PrivateBank Theatre is awesome. It opened in 1906 and holds 1,800 people, which is on the larger side for a Broadway show. But I'm used to seeing them at The Paramount in Seattle, which is way too big with 3,000 seats, so it seemed intimate to me. We were 25 rows back from the stage and could see and hear perfectly. The sound was so crisp and I can't tell if that's because it was really good or if it's because I'm used to all the problems The Paramount has had lately. I've seen two shows on Broadway and one in the West End and there is something to be said for seeing a show in the right size theater.

Even though I knew every word, I was so in awe and surprised by the set, staging, and choreography (which is quite simple, but perfect). I had goosebumps for the first five or so songs and was just as entranced as everyone else in the audience. The cast was incredible!

Lin-Manuel is a certifiable genius, a Broadway God, and one of my favorite people out there, but my least favorite member of the original cast. He just doesn't have the greatest voice, so I was excited to see someone else in the role and Miguel Cervantes was a flawless Hamilton. (Better than Lin, IMO, but shhhhh.) Leslie Odom, Jr. holds a very special place in my heart, but I'm happy to report that Daniel Breaker was an impressive Burr.

We had three understudies (playing Angelica, Washington, and Mulligan/Madison) and I never would have known they weren't in the principal cast. All three were spot on. Washington and King George were Jacob's favorite characters. Mine were Lafayette and Jefferson played by Chris De'Sean Lee. He's a junior in college and this is his first role outside of school productions. He blew me away and stole the show. I loved every second he was on stage. I tweeted about him afterward and he totally got word.

The only person I wasn't head over heels in love with was Ari Efsar as Eliza. This is her first professional role too and she has an amazing voice, but it felt like she tried too hard to channel Phillipa Soo, who is an insane talent. She wasn't bad in any sense of the word, she just wasn't the best thing up there. Here's a cute, happy cover of Burn by Chris and Ari. They are adorable!

So, yeah. The show was outstanding. Like I said, I started with goosebumps, then cried my eyes out from Burn till the end of the show (with a brief respite during The Election of 1800 and Your Obedient Servant), and finished off the night on a post-Hamilton high, walking the streets of Chicago. Jacob said it's in his top three shows of all time (up there with The Book of Mormon and Rock of Ages) and said he'd see it again in a heartbeat. We were throwing around the idea to go see it in LA this fall, but I don't think we can do it around his work schedule. Bummer. But I already have my tickets for the tour when it comes through Seattle in 2018 and plan to buy as many extra tickets as I'm allowed so I can see it multiple times while it's here for five weeks. If you have a chance to see it, RUN to the nearest theater. It is phenomenal.


Kristi @ Mi Vida Ocupada said...

I don't know much about Hamilton other than from my friend Zak who is OBSESSED with it as much as you!!! You two would be BFFs!!!! I need to see it sometime though for sure! I love your blog, I am a new follower. I found you from Erin's Book Challenge. See you around!!

Misty said...

I honestly don't know much about it. I know there's a lot of hype and people love it. I've seen Lin-Manuel Miranda in several interviews and think he's adorable and incredibly talented.

Elle Sees said...

I've never seen Hamilton, but know a few of the songs. I'd love to see it!