BWW Reviews: HAMILTON Ignites the Eccles Theater

BWW Reviews: HAMILTON Ignites the Eccles Theater

The national tour of the smash hit musical HAMILTON ignites the Eccles Theater in its long-awaited Utah debut.

HAMILTON (book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda) is the 11-time Tony-winning musical that has entered the zeitgeist of popular culture. It employs rap, hip-hop, R&B, pop, and musical theatre conventions in wholly new ways to tell the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton. It chronicles his rise to power and fall from grace, including his role in the American Revolution and his political and personal lives.

Much has been said about Lin-Manuel Miranda's opus, and what greater testament does it need than its widespread, avid fan base throughout the world. The dexterity and depth of the writing is extraordinary.

While it may be difficult for some to separate these portrayals from the originals, the diverse cast of this touring company is extremely talented and polished, and it is worthy of reprising its roles on Broadway.

Joseph Morales (who played Usnavi in Pioneer Theatre Company's production of IN THE HEIGHTS in 2012) brings a youthfulness and vitality to the "young, scrappy, and hungry" title character. He is paired well with Shoba Narayan, who plays his wife, Eliza, with gorgeous vocals.

Nik Walker as Aaron Burr is wonderfully dignified with a hint of malevolence. Additional standouts include Elijah Malcomb in the part of Philip Hamilton (also playing John Laurens) and Nyla Sostre in the part of Maria Reynolds (also playing Peggy Schuyler).

Rounding out the fabulous leading cast are Ta'Rea Campbell as Angelica Schuyler, Marcus Choi as George Washington, Kyle Scatliffe as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Fergie L. Philippe as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, and Jon Patrick Walker as King George.

The ensemble deserves particular mention, as their incredible dancing and harmonies add significantly to nearly every sequence. The singular choreography by Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler is magnetic and pulsating as it shifts to fit the varying styles of the songs in a unique theatrical style while still maintaining a strong hip-hop identity.

The staging from Tony-winning director Thomas Kail is masterful. Like the show itself, it is sweeping in scope and but with an eye for detail that keeps the action intriguing. In constant motion, its fluidity is the perfect companion to the versatility of David Korins' unit set, outfitted with a well utilized turntable, that tells the story in turn with both simplicity and complexity. The lighting by Tony-winning designer Howell Binkley compensates for the sparseness of the set through its bold patterns and colors that blossom, rescind, and transform throughout the course of the show. The sound design by Nevin Steinberg is incredibly crystal clear, even in the back of the hall, which is especially important for such dense lyrics to be understood and appreciated.

HAMILTON will be remembered throughout the annals of musical theatre as a show that changed the trajectory of the art form. If you are one of the lucky ones with a ticket to see this phenomenal production, you will always remember that you had a seat in the room where it happened.

HAMILTON plays the Eccles Theater for a limited engagement through Sunday, May 6, 2018. Ticket availability is extremely limited, but a lottery is available for each performance. For more information, call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS (2787) or visit www.artsaltlake.org.

Photo Credit: L-R Shoba Narayan (Eliza) and Joseph Morales (Alexander)


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From This Author Tyler Hinton

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