BWW Review: HAMILTON Takes Los Angeles By Storm
What can I say about HAMILTON that hasn't already been said one hundred times over? I was excited to attend opening night of the National Tour at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. I haven't seen so much over.the.top yet genuine enthusiasm for a show since the original Dreamgirls with Jennifer Holliday in the 1980s. Audience screamed and cheered the entrances of every major character. At the top, I was so propelled into the setting and the action of the American Revolution in 1776 that I forgot I was watching an historical show...and that says a lot because I am not a fan of rap music. However, for those of you like me, you are in for a treat, because its heart-pounding beats drive the show with a thrilling nonstop execution like no other.
To summarize the plot of HAMILTON would be akin to delivering a history lesson. I would rather talk about the production values. First and foremost, Miranda has written a book that is based on fact and highly dramatic....theatrical to the max with so much imagination in support of immigrants, who, good, bad or in between deserve to be remembered for their dedication and loyalty to changing the face of America. His music is a series of rap, r & b, and pop music that moves the story forward with an incredible fervor. I felt each moment and could not wait for the next.
Under Thomas Kail's stellar direction and with Andy Blanenbuehler's dynamically performed choreography, the ensemble deliver unforgettable work. As Hamilton Michael Luwoye pushes the native Caribbean man's ambition to the limits. As Aaron Burr, Joshua Henry is big and bold. bringing Hamilton down in a duel that climaxes their lifelong rivalry. Isaiah Johnson makes a sturdy George Washington the commander in chief who was indeed a strong force to be reckoned with. There is stunning comedic work from Rory o'Malley as King George whose "You'll Be Back" is one great satirical song that I am still humming today. Also very amusing are Jordan Donica in dual roles as the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson and Mathenee Treco also in two roles as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison. On the female side of the cast, Dolea Pfeiffer sweetly plays Eliza Schuyler who marries Hamilton, and her sister Angelica is played splendidly by Emmy Raver-Lampman. Angelica was also in love with Hamilton and delivers some very powerful monologues in song as to what might have been. Ruben J. Carbajal shows the tender side of Hamilton's son, Philip, who also unexpectedly died in a duel.
Set design by David Korins with its brick wall and plank like bridge is totally effective. Equally stunning are costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley and sound design by Nevin Steinberg.
One interesting note about the casting of HAMILTON is that characters are played by actors of different race and color. If an African American, latino or asian plays Hamilton or Washington, it doesn't matter. America was and is a melting-pot culture. Miranda defies us to look at it any other way.
Yes, this show conceived by the genius Lin-Manuel Miranda is unparalleled...you must see it, for it takes the American musical theatre in a totally new direction. Hollywood Pantages Theatre through December 30, 2017!