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Review: HAMILTON Brings the Revolution to The Bushnell

Review: HAMILTON Brings the Revolution to The Bushnell

Hartford rises up for Hamilton with a thunderous standing ovation.

June 22nd through July 10th, The Bushnell is The Room Where It Happens. On Tuesday evening, I had the pleasure of seeing the Hamilton National Tour alongside a fully packed house of diehard fans, who bopped along in their seats with delight and delivered a well-deserved standing ovation.

Hamilton tells the story of the birth of the United States of America and lesser-known stories about Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. The show transports us back to the uprising against Great Britain, the subsequent War of Independence, and ends its story just after our nation's first President leaves office. Hamilton features a totally modern score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway. Its soundtrack has taken the world by storm, intertwining completely with social media and popular culture.

With book, music, and lyrics by world-renowned composer, lyricist, and performer, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway: In the Heights, Film: Disney's Moana and Mary Poppins Returns), Hamilton took the world by storm and has profoundly impacted our culture, politics, and education. The show is based on Ron Chernow's acclaimed biography and has won Tony, Grammy, Olivier Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as an unprecedented special citation from the Kennedy Center Honors.

Having only seen the Original Broadway Cast production on Disney Plus, I wondered what kind of experience I would have seeing the live performance. After all, it's hard not to compare the productions and favor the actors who originated these iconic roles. I assure you, the Hamilton tour is even more powerful, energetic, and thrilling that I could have ever imagined.

I know it's cliché to say Hamilton is excellent, but it's excellent.

If you arrive at your seat and find a leaflet in your prompter announcing a different cast, do not fret or speculate. This cast is absolutely stellar. The casting team (The Telsey Office, Bethany Knox, CSA) curated a diverse pool of excellent talent. The performers make each role their own and the show feels fresh and alive. Though many audience members know the Hamilton soundtrack like the back of their hand, it was abundantly clear that they thoroughly appreciated seeing new faces and voices bringing their favorite story and characters to life.

The cast at the Tuesday night performance was nothing short of fantastic and featured great actors and exceptional vocal talent. The magnificent ensemble (featuring Aaron J. Albano [Samuel Seabury], DeMarius R. Copes, Nicole Deroux, Lili Froehlich, Pedro Garza [Charles Lee], Marcus John, Venessa Magula, Taeko McCarroll, Trevor Miles [George Packer], Nick Sanchez [Philip Schuyler / James Reynolds / Doctor], and Quiantae Thomas seamlessly stepped in and out of their featured roles perfectly and made it look effortless.

Angelica (played by Ta'Rea Campbell) commanded the stage, notably during her incredible performance of Satisfied. I have to admit, I was so enthralled that I found myself holding my breath! Blaine Alden Krauss embodied the role of Alexander Hamilton perfectly and flawlessly. His incredible voice and presence quickly made the character a favorite and I am eager to see him on stage again. Paige Smallwood (as Peggy Schuyler / Maria Reynolds) was delightful, playing to the crowd and making Peggy even more adorable. Smallwood's solo (as Maria) showcased incredible vocal talent. Stephanie Jae Park, another sweet and beautiful voice, was charming and captivating as Eliza Schuyler. Jared Howelton (as Hercules Mulligan / James Madison) had unparalleled comedy timing and hilarious expressions that brought new life and meaning to his roles. Jonathan Christoper (as Aaron Burr), Warren Egypt Franklin (as Marquis de LaFayette/Thomas Jefferson), Elijah Malcomb (as John Laurens / Philip Hamilton) were phenomenal. Marcus Choi's (as George Washington) gorgeous, velvety voice stands out especially. King George (Neil Haskell) won over the crowd the moment he stepped on stage. A magnificent actor, Haskell's powerful energy captivated the audience, who clearly appreciated the acknowledgements to modern-day politics by answering with resounding applause and cheers.

The creative team is clearly a winner with Director, Thomas Kail, Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, Musical Supervisor and Orchestrator Alex Lacamoire, Costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, and hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPoint. The exquisite choreography flows with endless movement, balancing snappy and sharp with elegant and rounded elements. The set pieces move via said ingenious choreography, often replicating slow motion and reversing time, amidst the brown, industrial brick and wood scaffolding set designed by David Korins. The costuming is meaningful and beautiful: The crystals on King George's crown shined brightly to the back of the house. The sound designer supported the performers and showcased their tone beautifully, without distortion, and the balance was perfection. I'd be hard-pressed to find a flaw.

Tickets available at bushnell.org or by calling (860) 987-5900.

Photo credit © Joan Marcus.

Hamilton (Philip Company)

Hamilton (Philip Company)Hamilton (Philip Company)Hamilton (Philip Company)

Hamilton (Philip Company)

Hamilton (Philip Company)

Hamilton (Philip Company)

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus



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