Review: HAMILTON Builds An Impactful Legacy

‘Hamilton’ closes its nearly three-month, sold-out run at The Theatre at Solaire this Sun., Nov. 26.

By: Nov. 22, 2023
Review: HAMILTON Builds An Impactful Legacy

“Oceans rise.

Empires fall.

It’s much harder when it’s all your call.”

– “What Comes Next?” from “Hamilton”

Manila, Philippines--How the 18th-century American Revolutionary War is depicted in the Pulitzer Award-winning musical “Hamilton” continues to thrill patrons and theatergoers, now in its last week at The Theatre at Solaire. This production marks “Hamilton’s” first international tour, which will soon transfer to the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in January 2024 and the Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands, in Singapore in April 2024.

Based on the 2005 biography of the renowned revolutionary Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow, “Hamilton” is a sung-and-rapped-through musical exploring Hamilton’s rise to becoming an influential figure in American politics as he was the first US secretary of the treasury from 1789-1795. The nine-time Tony Award-winning musical made its Broadway premiere in 2015.

The musical’s central theme on political ambitions and human frailties parallels to those of the oppressed and conflicted is relatively timely in today’s society. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s unorthodox rendering of music, which transitions from hip-hop to R&B to pop, makes America’s Founding Fathers’ stories engaging and relevant. His lyrics are integral to the storytelling about US history, political alliances, and fleeting transition to power.

The international touring company comprises an interracial cast of talents plucked from various and previous productions worldwide, with undeniably astounding and commanding stage presence.

Jason Arrow is leading the pack in the titular role, who raps his lines effortlessly and flawlessly without dropping his character, which is phenomenal. His cocksure interpretation of the character vibes pure effectiveness throughout the show. Darnell Abraham establishes America’s first president, George Washington, as a fearless father figure to Hamilton, making him an essential foundation for Arrow’s characterization of the titular role.

Review: HAMILTON Builds An Impactful Legacy
Original 'Hamilton' Australia cast Jason Arrow (Alexander Hamilton) leads the international tour. (Michael Cassel Group/Daniel Boud)

Rachelle Ann Go reprises her role as Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, which she originated in the 2017 West End production. Go lifts the crowd’s energy as she performs “Helpless” with exceptional vocal technique. Her 11 o’clock number “Burn” transforms her bright persona to a deep melancholy as personified in the dying scene in “Stay Alive (Reprise).”

As one of Hamilton’s political rivals and one of the show’s narrators, DeAundré Woods compellingly demonstrates a three-dimensional Aaron Burr; Woods previously played Hamilton on the US National Tour.

As King George, who ruled the British Empire during the American Revolutionary War, Brent Hill has only a few scenes, but his comedic scenes are highly entertaining and genuinely mesmerizing. His sidesplitting deliveries of “You’ll Be Back,” “What Comes Next?” and “I Know Him” effectively drive the spectators crazy, especially in Act Two’s “The Reynold’s Pamphlet.”

David Park, also from the US National Tour, impressively throws his shot at playing dual characters, Marquis de Lafayette, a general in the American Revolutionary War, and Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president. Changing characters is challenging as the actor needs to detach himself from each one physically and vocally, but Park makes the shift look seamless and easy.

The other cast members who pull double roles in the show, such as Elandrah Eramiha (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds), help strengthen and illuminate many of the musical’s themes. Eramiha is as innocent as Peggy and lascivious as Hamilton’s conning mistress, Maria.

Love is another prominent theme in “Hamilton,” which is the source of comfort and strength in difficult times for every main character, such as the unconditional love between Alexander and Eliza and the paternal love of Burr and Hamilton with their children.  The musical also celebrates the power of family and friendship in creating a solid foundation for their life’s pursuits.

The unlikely story of Hamilton, an immigrant orphan born in the West Indies yet determined to make a mark in a new country, speaks to audiences on many levels. The idea of revolution and fighting for one’s freedom and human rights, the people coming together to fight for a common cause, and the universal message of hope, perseverance, and forgiveness profoundly impact various cultures, politics, and education beyond the US. Distinctly, this is the show’s resonating legacy.--with additional words by Oliver Oliveros and Gilbert Kim Sancha

Photos: Michael Cassel Group/GMG Productions