BWW Review: HAMILTON at Wharton Center For The Performing Arts Delivers an Expectation-Smashing Performance
It's no secret that the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Tony-winning, Grammy-winning musical Hamilton has finally made its way to East Lansing this month. Until June 2nd, Lin Manuel-Miranda's iconic musical is playing at the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts to packed houses. Not only did this show take home 11 2016 Tony Awards including Best Musical, but it also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a feat only achieved by nine musicals since 1917. As someone who has now seen this musical five times, let me tell you, Hamilton's Angelica Tour meets, and even succeeds, the hype that surrounds this show.
Just in case you've been living in a cave for the past few (hundred) years, Hamilton is all about one of America's founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. He came to America from the Caribbean, eventually fighting and working alongside George Washington and other founding fathers such as James Madison, John Jay, and more. He was married to Eliza Schuyler, one of New York Senator Philip John Schuyler's daughters. Although he cheated on Eliza and came forward about it with The Reynolds Pamphlet, she stayed with him until he was killed by Aaron Burr in an 1804 duel at the age of 49. The sung-through musical covers all of this, and more.
As mentioned, I've now seen Hamilton five times: once at Wharton Center, three times in Chicago, and once with the original Broadway cast. Every single cast I've seen has done a brilliant job of portraying these historical figures in American history, and the tour that's playing at Wharton Center is no exception. Edred Utomi was the third Hamilton I'd seen, and he brought a shy vulnerability to the character that I hadn't really seen before. Hannah Cruz was also a real treat as Eliza Schuyler. Her strength shone especially through her voice, and yet my favorite part about her Eliza was her raw, authentic performance. With binoculars in hand, I could see Cruz tearing up at emotional scenes throughout the show. Anytime an actor is able to connect with their character so much to the point where they're crying every night, it adds so much more to a musical that already has so much going for it.
Although I could talk for days about the rest of the cast, it's probably best if you see for yourselves just how good they are. If you're lucky enough to see the national tour of Hamilton, either at Wharton or somewhere else, you've in for three hours with a top-notch cast, award-winning music, and outstanding production design. I certainly can't wait until I get the chance to see it for a sixth time.
Tickets are on sale now at Wharton Center's official ticketing outlets: online at whartoncenter.com, at the Auto-Owners Insurance Ticket Office at Wharton Center, or by calling 1-800-WHARTON.