Dan gave me tickets to see Hamilton in San Francisco for Christmas, for a show in mid-July. He also gave me the cast soundtrack, so we’ve learned the words and now sing parts of the songs back and forth to each other or play different roles while belting it out in the car together.
Needless to say, my expectations have been building for the last six and a half months as friends saw the show and raved or I read bits and pieces online or caught interviews about the show or read the Hamilton biography (Ron Chernow) on which the musical is based. Until today: show time! The easiest way to explain what it’s like to see Hamilton performed is to point you to the thesaurus entry for phenomenal. The simple set with rotating stage, minimal stage dressings, and neutral costuming for the company laid the base for the outstanding and unique interpretations of the characters through the actors’ remarkable voices. My favorites in this performance were, unsurprisingly Hamilton [Michael Luwoye] and Jefferson [Jordan Donica], and perhaps surprisingly, Laurens/Philip [Rubén J. Carbajal], although as I look over the cast list I can’t help but admire Eliza [Solea Pfeiffer] and Angelica [Raven Thomas] – especially their harmonies – and Burr [Joshua Henry] for his range in both acting and voice. And of course, the hilarious King George [Rory O’Malley] who shows up in unexpected places during the play…such as reading the Reynold’s Pamphlet.
I’ve loved “The Farmer Refuted” from the beginning, especially Hamilton’s fugue (music teachers and composers, correct me if that’s the wrong term). But seeing it acted out, with Samuel Seabury on his soapbox desperately reading his statement while trying to ignore the heckles and Hamilton crawling onto the soapbox to get his attention (to be later escorted off by Burr) made me love it even more.
The choreography and lighting all built the excitement, tension, or humor of the music and could be studied in theater classes to demonstrate how to use movement and light to maximize story impact.
And both Dan and I agreed that we wanted the “walking out of the theater” music the orchestra played on CD: it was a fun meshing of the melodies heard throughout the play and had such an upbeat energy. Can I request that as a special release on iTunes?
But what I found perhaps most impressive is that after the show, the cast came out to the street to meet the audience. I found this, after performing wholeheartedly for 3 hours – which is, no doubt, exhausting – to be such an incredibly kind and generous acts from these famed performers. The cast members were greeted with a cheer as each new person walked out to sign autographs, take selfies, converse, and genuinely share a bit of their time and themselves with each of us. That will stick with me going forward and make me only more likely to recommend the entire experience of going to Hamilton.
This show surpassed everything I’d heard about it and I can say that I can’t wait to see it again, even thought I know that’s probably a few years down the road. And I must say, Dan did an outstanding job on Christmas 2016!