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Review: HAMILTON Returns To Charlotte Post Pandemic at Belk Theatre

The Tony Award-Winning Broadway Musical, Hamilton, returns to Charlotte, North Carolina's Blumenthal Belk Theater, for another spectacular running.

Review: HAMILTON Returns To Charlotte Post Pandemic at Belk Theatre

"HAMILTON" RETURNS TO CHARLOTTE, NC

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!" I heard myself screaming loudly in sync with the other 2,000 plus fans at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Centers' Belk Theater, located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, as we rendered a standing ovation to the incredible splendor of the Broadway musical, Hamilton (winner of 11 Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2016). I felt that same exuberance as a teenage girl in the 1970s when I attended my first of many Jackson 5 concert. Nothing could compare to that adrenaline rush that makes your palms sweaty and your heart race as you witness a historic phenom like never before. This was my second time seeing Hamilton; however, I could watch this spectacular production, depicting the life and times of our first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, over and over again.

My fascination with Hamilton is not only as a patron, but as a playwright, I marvel at the exceptional staging, casting, directing...every aspect of this masterpiece is so on point and flawless. I celebrate this marvelous, innovative, creative genius, Lin-Manuel Miranda who have given us a timeless treasure that will be relished for a lifetime. I predict that his name will be mentioned on the same sphere as William Shakespeare...sheer brilliance. Who would have ever thought that we would see one of our founding father's lives being portrayed on stages worldwide underscored by the urban music of Hip-Hop? Yes, I said Hip-Hop...a culture and art movement created by African-Americans (who were probably slaves during his generation), Latino Americans and Caribbean Americans in the Bronx, New York City. And when you look at the score of Hamilton you see listed famous Hip-hop artists (that I predict many of the theater patrons here have never heard of prior to Hamilton) like Christopher "Notorious Big" Wallace, Sean Combs, and James Mtume. "History Meets Hip-Hop".

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.

The blend of humor, especially in the character, King George (Peter Matthew Smith) brings a refreshing air of comedy and laughter especially in the song, You'll Be Back (Da-da-da-dat-da-da-da, da-ya-da). The entire cast was absolutely incredible and made this production beyond awesome. This musical was humanized with Hamilton's painstaking love story with Eliza (Zoe Jensen) and contrasting adulterous affair with Maria Reynolds (Yana Perrault). Although a great man politically, this scene showed that even a great man can have an Achilles heel.

The death of Hamilton's son, Phillip, in a duel brought a somber silence and a hush over the audience. Yet, the moment of forgiveness between Hamilton and Eliza in the song (It's Quiet Uptown) was so touching and beautiful, it changed the atmosphere a bit.

I gained so much historic value from this production, especially at the end when they summarized the philanthropist accomplishments of Eliza Hamilton with the song (Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story). She carried on Alexander's legacy and carved out a place in history for herself as well by opening the first private orphanage in New York City. She would be a great person to emphasize in March during Women's History Month.

I could go on and on talking about this wonderful production but I believe our former 44th president, Barack Obama summed it all up with this statement, "It is rare where a piece of art can remind us what's best in ourselves!" Rare indeed, an experience I will cherish forever. I'm glad I didn't throw away my shot!

Review: HAMILTON Returns To Charlotte Post Pandemic at Belk Theatre
Edred Utomi in the lead role of Hamilton
Photo Courtesy of Facebook

*Hamilton runs at The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center's Belk Theater through May 15, 2022. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.blumenthalarts.org


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