Review Roundup: HAMILTON's Touring 'Angelica' Company Returns to the Stage!

The Angelica company of the National Tour of Hamilton officially returned last month, kicking off at ASU Gammage.

By: Oct. 26, 2021
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The Angelica company of the National Tour of Hamilton officially returned last month, kicking off at ASU Gammage.

The musical stars Edred Utomi as Alexander Hamilton, alongside Josh Tower as Aaron Burr, Zoe Jensen as Eliza Hamilton, Bryson Bruce as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Jon Viktor Corpuz as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton, Tyler Belo as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, Peter Matthew Smith as King George III, Paul Oakley Stovall as George Washington, Stephanie Umoh as Angelica Schuyler, and Olivia Puckett as Peggy Schuyler.

HAMILTON is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation's first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.

Let's see what the critics are saying...

ASU Gammage - Phoenix, AZ

Seth Tucker, BroadwayWorld: As Hamilton, Edred Utomi's performance -- for better or worse -- is a near carbon copy of Miranda's Tony nominated performance. For all the die-hard fans hoping to hear a recreation of the cast album, you won't be disappointed. Nobody can match the smooth voice of Leslie Odom Jr.'s Tony winning performance as Aaron Burr, but Josh Tower holds his own with an intense portrayal of the complicated villain. The ensemble truly is the glue that binds the show, with intricate movement and focused emotion, bringing nearly every scene to life.

Moran Theatre - Jacksonville, FL

Charlie Patton, The cast that has come to Jacksonville is outstanding, full of actors who have performed on Broadway and have significant television credits. I particularly liked Warren Egypt Franklin who plays two roles, Lafayette in act one and Thomas Jefferson in act two. Both are great roles, especially Jefferson, and both are well played. Providing rich comic relief is Neil Haskell, who plays an ultimately puzzled King George (puzzled that leaders could just step down; puzzled that John Adams would be allowed to assume Washington's crown).

Marcus Center - Milwaukee, WI

Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: As the diminutive John Laurens and as young Philip Hamilton, Jon Viktor Corpuz is a captivating fireball who draws attention. As Washington, Stovall is a commander in chief great in both stature and gravitas. I'd cross the Delaware for this guy. Jensen and Umoh sing Eliza and Angelica's heartbreaking solos with conviction. And King George (Peter Matthew Smith) must be the most popular villain since Darth Vader, judging from the audience's delirium each time he sashayed onstage.

Harry Cherkinian, Shepherd Express: If ever there was a show that truly represents an excellent ensemble performance it's Hamilton. But the lead role is physically and emotionally demanding and Edred Utomi fills every aspect of Alexander Hamilton, even eerily recreating the vocals of Miranda, who created the lead role in the original Broadway cast.

Orpheum Theatre - Omaha, NE

Betsie Freeman, Omaha World Herald: Stephanie Umoh as Angelica Schuyler. Her voice lives up to any previous Angelicas I've seen or heard, and that's an impressive group that includes Renée Elise Goldsberry, who will be here next year with the Omaha Symphony. Bryson Bruce as Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. His "What'd I Miss" was the most boisterous and funny I've seen. Paul Oakley Stovall as George Washington. He has a powerful voice and is aided by his towering presence. He owns the stage when he's on it. Peter Matthew Smith as King George. He exaggerates his character's sneering, giving an almost sinister edge to George's funny British music-hall schtick. That was a new interpretation, at least to me.

Sara Meadows, The Gateway: Another thing that stood out to me was the different races of the actors. With Black Lives Matter coming to the forefront, it was nice to finally see a change in the theater world. Not to mention, Black people often get overlooked as the lead roles in theater, so this made history in the musical industry. The musical did an impressive job of making a big statement with both the actors and musical numbers.

Bruce Miller, Sioux City Journal: Chief among them: Stephanie Umoh, who creates an Angelica Schuyler who resonates even in scenes she's not in. She has a voice that's incredible, giving songs like "Satisfied" and "It's Quiet Uptown" even more emotion than you could imagine. With "One Last Time," Paul Oakley Stovall comes as close as "Hamilton" gets to a mid-show standing ovation. His booming voice conveys the heft of George Washington, revealing the implications of his absence from the country's key position.

Music Hall at Fair Park - Dallas, TX

Lorens Portalatin, BroadwayWorld: The North American Angelica tour of HAMILTON is packed with talent and star power throughout the cast. Most notably Edred Utomi as Hamilton, Josh Tower as Aaron Burr, and Stephanie Umoh as Angelica Schuyler. Josh Tower showed a lovely, tender side of Burr during Dear Theodosia which greatly differed from his feverish acts after The Room Where It Happens. Utomi's Hamilton was confident and calculative as he made each move that would further Hamilton's career. Utomi's chemistry with Eliza played by Zoe Jensen was touching and heartbreaking. Umoh's Angelica was the perfect representation of loyalty and sisterhood.

Rich Lopez, Dallas Voice: At the center of it all was Edred Utomi as the titular character. His gravitas and even comic timing gave the character layers of complexity. The wondrous part of his performance continued when he's not singing. Utomi did so much silent acting that I felt him thinking as Hamilton when Thomas Jefferson (David Park) or George Washington (Paul Oakley Stovall) were having their say. Particularly the way he registered emotion with his wife Eliza (Zoe Jensen) was prodigious.

Gadi Elkon, Selig Film News: Our Alexander is Edred Utomi who's hops, voice quality and cheeky moves are all on point. Josh Tower is a bit more of a filled-out Aaron Burr but his vocal range really carries well in the complexity of the infamous figure. Tower was also fantastic as Berry Gordy in the underrated Motown the Musical. Paul Oakley Stovall is the aged vet whose booming voice embodies the famous George Washington. Stovall is the touring figure that captures your full attention whenever he tackles the stage. The two standout male performers though are David Park as Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson and Peter Matthew Smith as King George. Park's vibrant style is a real treat that adds flair and style to show. Park working off Utomi in the second half's debate scenes are truly fantastic to witness.

John Garcia, The Column Online: I STRONGLY urge every Artistic Director, Director, and casting associate within the DFW area to attend this very production so that you can get a better understanding and grasp of what non-traditional casting means. I was so immensely impressed and incredibly moved to see a beautiful array of colors and nationalities within the company, and all of them portraying the principal roles-not regulated to the ensemble, which tends to happen so much in the ill-conceived answer that is how to cast non-traditionally. But here is why it works so magically and superbly here in this musical: These individuals HAVE the magnetic talent to show why they are in these roles. It's as easy as that.

Bass Concert Hall - Austin, TX

Lynn Beaver, BroadwayWorld: HAMILTON is a "Non-Stop" (yes, it's a song) thrill ride from curtain to curtain. What you'll see is a twin to the Tony winning original seen by millions. The set, lighting, costumes and choreography are as close to the Broadway show as possible, all perfectly executed but the traveling cast. What this tour really brings is fresh performers who give their individual art to each character and the undeniable thrill of live theatre. And what a thrill it is. It's not only a love letter to an American hero, it's a love letter to the Broadway musical written by a poetic master.

Eric Webb and Kelsey Bradshaw, Austin 360: One: I think the show holds up to multiple viewings, now that I've seen it twice in person and once on Disney+. And two: I'm rethinking the backlash to Lin-Manuel Miranda and "Hamilton" - that it's corny, that it's wrongheaded in its glorification of these historical figures - which was inevitable as soon as the show became a whole thing. Seeing this production at Bass Concert Hall reminded me of how much "Hamilton" actually does try to subvert ideas about colonialism, immigration and race. It's not my place to speak to the validity of the execution. But it got me thinking again, which is all art can really hope to do.

Gina Alligood, Austin 101: ​Of course Hamilton was center stage throughout the evening, but it was the Schuyler sisters who spoke to me: Eliza (Zoe Jensen), Peggy (Olivia Puckett), and Angelica (Stephanie Umoh). It's clear as the story unfolds that Hamilton's legacy might never have been if not for these women. Angelica is the oldest sister who sacrifices her own dreams to ensure Eliza marries first. Sadly, Eliza fell in love with the romantic man she thought he was, only to be left with unfathomable heartache.

Orpheum Theater - Memphis, TN

AniKatrina Fageol, BroadwayWorld: Edred Utomi gives a delightful portrayal of the title character. With his smooth tones and fun energy, he makes for a perfect focus for the audience. The Schuyler Sisters, also, provide both comic relief and roiling emotions with their songs. King George, portrayed by Peter Matthew Smith, is the comedic gold of the show and certainly stole the spotlight whenever he made an entrance. His "You'll Be Back" takes the audience away from the intensity of the looming war or the emotional turmoil on stage for a few moments before returning us to the scene. Several of the actors portray multiple characters throughout Act I and Act II. Since half of the population has seen the musical on Disney+, there was a slight worry that there would not be much deviation but it was wonderful to see how each and every character made the role their own and gave it a personal spin.

Jesse Davis, Memphis Flyer: Paul Oakley Stovall, playing the part of George Washington, was the standout performance for me. Stovall delivered his lines effortlessly, as if he were tossing them to the audience as an afterthought. It takes a lot of work to make something look that easy.

Bass Performance Hall - Fort Worth, TX

Alex Bentley, Culture Map: Edred Utomi stars as Alexander Hamilton, bringing an ebullience and energy to the role, typified by two extremely high hops while performing the early show-stopper "My Shot." His performance seems to bring out the best in the rest of the cast.

Robinson Center Music Hall - Little Rock, AR

Eric E. Harrison, Arkansas Democrat Gazette: The cast consists mostly of young people who are making their first big theatrical splashes on the "Angelica" tour, which is one of three current road troupes (which, by the way, will also play Fayetteville's Walton Arts Center, March 22-April 3). It may be a touring cast, but it's no less talented or less worthy than one you'd see on Broadway or in one of the big-city sit-down companies.

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts - Houston, TX

Brett Cullum, BroadwayWorld: Leading the show for this tour is Edred Utomi as the titular lead of "A. Ham". He is a striking fellow with a silky voice, and he makes the role his own. It differs from Lin-Manuel Miranda's interpretation, and he adds a sensual swagger that makes the "ladykiller" reputation of Alexander much easier to swallow. He's slick, and he does an impressive turn throughout his numbers. David Park pulls double duty as the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. It's stunning when you realize the same actor plays both parts, because he manages to disappear in both. Josh Tower as Aaron Burr and Paul Oakley Stovall as George Washington have strong stage and vocal presences that got standing ovations after their respective solos. Zoe Jensen adds a whole lot of heart to Eliza Hamilton, while Stephanie Umoh is a fiery Angelica. Peter Matthew Smith had the audience clapping with glee every time he appeared as a hammy King George.

Doni Wilson, Preview: From the early number by Hamilton (a memorable Edred Utomi) in which he declares that he is not going to throw away "My Shot," to the pop music love songs such as "Helpless," sung by the Schuyler sisters, who fall for Hamilton's considerable charms, to the rap monologues of the characters that dramatize the personal and political stakes for all of them, the music is a marvel both in composition and execution. Josh Tower's portrayal of Aaron Burr ("the damn fool who shot him" who tells Hamilton "Talk less, smile more") was a convincing mix of arrogance and regret. A highlight was watching John Devereaux as King George sing his deliciously comic numbers as the revolution evolves.

D.L. Groover, Houston Press: The entire enterprise is buoyant and a constant joy of discovery. This is what the best of Broadway can do. Granted these are exceptional talents working at the top of their game, but their worlds coalesce in the most magnificent, affecting, and emotional way. The touring cast nimbly matches the original, with standout performances (along with the above-mentioned actors) by Stephanie Umoh, as Hamilton's unrequited love Angelica, sister of Hamilton's wife Eliza; Paul Oakley Stovall, as boisterous and commanding George Washington; David Park, as preening Thomas Jefferson, although his Lafayette was undecipherable; Yana Perrault, as Hamilton's adulterous lover Mrs. Reynolds.

Walton Arts Center - Fayetteville, AR

Kevin Kinder, Fayetteville Flyer: And it is that most recent context that informs the production of "Hamilton" now in Fayetteville. Some of the initial charm of seeing the music is no longer moving for me. It often felt like characters were giving knowing verbal winks to the audience as if to say "You liked that joke, huh?" I say this while also acknowledging that even as I felt my attention drifting through familiar material, I found myself emotionally walloped by the concluding scenes all over again.

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center - Charlotte, NC

Vickie Evans, BroadwayWorld: This spectacular cast was led by Edred Utomi, who is African-American. Go figure! Who would have ever envisioned that Alexander Hamilton would be portrayed by an African-American? Unheard of...indeed, prior to Hamilton. Yet, there is a commonality there beyond race, both have immigrant parents, Edred's parents are Nigerian. Undoubtedly, Lin broke all the unspoken rules of theater here and the barrier of color lines...and oh, how it was needed. Especially now, in a time when there is so much racial unrest in this country, ushered in by the death of George Floyd. This melting pot of incredible talent on stage makes me so proud to truly be an American because I see people who look like "me" operating in a mainstream capacity. Diversity and Inclusion at its best.

Durham Performing Arts Center - Durham, NC

Nicole Ackman, BroadwayWorld: Edred Utomi is fantastic as Alexander Hamilton, starting out the show shy and awkward and building Hamilton's confidence as he meets his kindred spirits and grows surer of himself. His energy and articulateness contrast well with his softness in scenes with Eliza. Every actor does a great job of making the role their own from Josh Tower as Aaron Burr to Yana Perrault as Peggy and Maria. (About half of the lead roles are double-cast, with the actor playing one character in the first act and another in the second act.)

Peace Center - Greenville, SC

David Dykes, Business Magazine: Wednesday night's sold-out performance, the second show in a run that goes through June 19, 2022, offered 2½ hours' worth of dazzling performances that elevated Miranda's Pulitzer Prize-winning words and music, enlivened by Andy Blankenbuehler's inventive choreography.

Steve Wong, Carolina Curtain Call: To be such a spectacular production, presented in such unconventional ways, patrons get a good lesson in American history. With that in mind, you might want to brush up on who Hamilton is other than the face on the $10 bill. Also, there are a couple of key phrases associated with Hamilton that will be invaluable for you think about, as you see it and later as you consider the deeper meanings: Hamilton's creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has said, it is a show about "America then, told by America now" and "I'm not throwing away my shot," which is taken for the song "My Shot" and said throughout the show. Remember those words, and your understanding will definitely be better.

Saenger Theatre - New Orleans, LA

Jenny Bravo, BroadwayWorld: But as incredible as the set, stage, and lights are, the cast truly brings this production to life. In this particular cast, the two standouts for me were Deejay Young as Alexander Hamilton and Zoe Jensen as Eliza Hamilton. Deejay was the Hamilton understudy and I, for one, am so grateful that we were able to see his portrayal of the character. He brought a confidence and clarity to this role that I have yet to see. Bonus points to him for really nailing each age of Hamilton.

Overture Center - Madison, WI

Scott Rawson, BroadwayWorld: Edred Utomi portrayed Alexander Hamilton with vigor and poise. Josh Tower's play on Aaron Burr was done with just the right amount of emotion to make us understand who he was and why he did all that he did. Lastly,Rockford IL. native, Zoe Jensen's take on Eliza Hamilton's struggles touched the hearts of those fortunate enough to see the performance.

Stranahan Theater - Toledo, OH

Jeff McGinnis, Toledo City Paper: It is a high compliment, then, to say that the members of the "Angelica" touring cast of Hamilton deliver an experience that lives up to the sights, sounds and emotions audiences expect of the show. In addition, the performers find ways to add small touches and choices that bring new joys from the production. This is Hamilton as you remember and love it- but also a bit more.

The Aronoff Center [Proctor and Gamble Hall] - Cincinnati, OH

Behind the Curtain Cincinnati: Edred Utomi is very enjoyable in the title role, bringing a great energy to the youthful man we meet in act I and a grounded yet somewhat world-weary older version in act II. There were times I struggled hearing his lighter singing voice. Also strong was Neptune in the role of George Washington. Zoe Jensen is wonderful in her portrayal of Eliza Hamilton. Her vocals in "Burn" and the "Finale" were strong and emotionally moving. Yana Peffault impresses with her smoky, sultry vocals as Maria Reynolds. A special shout-out to the incredibly hard working and talented members of the ensemble that serve as the foundation of this show.

Tulsa Performing Arts Center - Tulsa, OK

James D. Watts Jr., Tulsa World: The character of Hamilton requires an actor who can convey the coiled, febrile energy that drives Hamilton in pursuit of his shot at making a mark on the world, and while Utomi says the words and sings the songs capably, he doesn't project that sort of energy and charm.

Kansas City Music Hall - Kansas City, MO

Vivian Kane, KC Studio: As Alexander Hamilton himself, Edred Utomi is spectacular, truly embodying the "young, scrappy, and hungry" energy the character proclaims himself to have. At times, Utomi seems to struggle to keep up with the longer phrases, losing breath (the same can be said for Stephanie Umoh's Angelica Schuyler) but he shines when his character is engaged in debate, going full knives-out on the Constitutional Convention. (The show's other major stand-out is Alysha Deslorieux, bringing extreme depth and charm to the complex role of Eliza Hamilton.)

Orpheum Theatre - Minneapolis, MN

Jared Fessler, BroadwayWorld: This cast was stellar! These actors were connected to thier characters but put their own to them as well. They made great character choices and there was still that element of powerful acting and character development. The score and the script were great and getting to hear the songs of "Schyler Sisters, Helpless, Burn," and other favorites live was great. All of the actors had powerful singing voices and the ensamble numbers were impeccable! The set, the stage effects, lighting and sound were magnificant! I felt so fortunate to be in the room where it happened!

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