BWW Review: The Smash Hit HAMILTON Opens At The Music Hall in Kansas City
The Tony Award-winning musical HAMILTON opened Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at the Music Hall in Kansas City and continues through Sunday, July 7. The American Theater Guild presents the smash Broadway musical featuring rap, jazz, blues, traditional-style show tunes, and hip-hop. Does it deserve all the attention it has garnered? The majority of the theater-goers, especially younger ones, will enthusiastically answer yes. While others, including myself, while recognizing the superb quality of the production and of the talent, will answer no. At times the lyrics are hard to understand, making the plot somewhat hard to follow.
Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the book, lyrics, and music for the critically acclaimed look at American's Founding Fathers and historical figures. HAMILTON is inspired by the 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Thomas Kail directs the musical, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, and musical supervision by Alex Lacamoire.
HAMILTON the story of the West Indies immigrant who became George Washington's friend and confident during the Revolutionary War made its Off-Broadway debut at The Public Theater in February of 2015. After a sold-out engagement, it moved to the Richard Rodgers Theatre in August of 2015. On Broadway, the musical set a record with 16 Tony Award nominations, winning 11 awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Actor in a Musical.
The story opens with Hamilton arriving in New York in 1776 from the isle of Nevis in the West Indies. In time he is recognized for his drive and ambition and is summoned by General George Washington, played by Desmond Sean Ellington, to become Washington's, right-hand man. Joseph Morales is very energetic in the role of Alexander Hamilton, yet at times his character is overshadowed by his friend and nemesis Aaron Burr, played by Nik Walker. Both do outstanding performances but Morales lacks some of the pazazz and commitment that Walker brings to his role.
Two outstanding performances of the night belong to Jon Patrick Walker as King George and Nick Sanchez as Marquis De Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. Both performers are hilarious in their respective roles, bringing a much needed comedic relief to the stage. Erin Clemons stars as Hamiltons wife, Eliza. In the second act her powerful, riveting performance of "Burn" is for me the highlight of the show.
The energy from the ensemble and all the cast is electrifying through the enthralling choreography. At times I found myself more focused on the dance steps than on the lyrics of the songs (this could have led to some of my not understanding some of the words).
HAMILTON continues at the Music Hall through July 7. Tickets for HAMILTON are limited, but interested patrons should check Ticketmaster, https://www.ticketmaster.com/hamilton-touring-tickets/artist/2336213?venueId=49167, for available tickets later in the shows run.
Photos provided by the American Theater Guild copyright by Joan Marcus