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Review: HAMILTON National Tour, DPAC

Founding Fathers musical continues to inspire and amaze

Hamilton (Angelica Company)

I've been a HAMILTON fan since the show first premiered on Broadway back in 2015, so I was thrilled to find out that the tour was once again coming to DPAC. Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical remains every bit as engaging and innovative today as it was seven years ago. Under Thomas Kail's direction, the show is one of the most unique to have made it big on Broadway as it presents the history of a Founding Father but with a cast that reflects the diversity of modern America.

If you have somehow missed out on the HAMILTON craze before now, the musical is about the "ten-dollar Founding Father" Alexander Hamilton. Largely overlooked by history, Hamilton was a Revolutionary War hero, the first Secretary of the Treasurer, and the founder of our financial system (and the Coast Guard). The show chronicles his journey from his arrival in America as a young man eager to make his name to his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr. Famous figures like George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Thomas Jefferson also make appearances as well as Hamilton's wife Eliza and her sisters Angelica and Peggy.

Hamilton (Angelica Company)Edred Utomi is fantastic as Alexander Hamilton, starting out the show shy and awkward and building Hamilton's confidence as he meets his kindred spirits and grows surer of himself. His energy and articulateness contrast well with his softness in scenes with Eliza. Every actor does a great job of making the role their own from Josh Tower as Aaron Burr to Yana Perrault as Peggy and Maria. (About half of the lead roles are double-cast, with the actor playing one character in the first act and another in the second act.)

Zoe Jensen's Eliza is bright and charming; her "Helpless" is a highlight of the show. Paul Oakley Stovall's George Washington is so tall and commanding, he actually feels like a fatherly figure to the rest of the characters. I was particularly impressed by David Park's very energetic Lafayette and refined Jefferson. He did an excellent job of putting his own spin on the role and seemed like he was having a great time.

Hamilton (Angelica Company)On Wednesday night, we had two understudies on and they were both great. Cherry Torres plays a very strong, but loving Angelica while Deejay Young's Hercules Mulligan and James Madison are hilarious. The entire ensemble is fantastic, particularly in their execution of Andy Blankenbueler's choreography. Kudos to the dance co-captains Karlee Ferreira and Desmond Nunn because the dancers' movements are remarkably crisp and in sync.

The tour has done a wonderful job of recreating the design of the original Broadway production. David Korins's set is so simple and yet so effective. The lighting, by Howell Binkley, is used expertly, particularly in the way it punctuates the music in the war scenes. Meanwhile, Paul Tazewell's costume design does a perfect job of creating the anachronistic colonial world in which the musical takes place, as tricorner hats and corsets contrast with modern hair and makeup just as the story of the Founding Fathers contrasts with the diverse casting.

Hamilton (Angelica Company)As brilliant as the show is, what I found the most touching is how the audience responded to it. The theater was packed and there were strong reactions throughout the entire show. There was applause at several characters' entrances, including Jefferson's in Act Two, and after the line, "Immigrants, we get the job done." Seeing how much the show engaged with and meant to the people in the audience at DPAC was a visceral reminder of the power of theatre.

HAMILTON really is every bit as good as the hype around it suggests. This tour production has so much energy and allows the humor of the show to shine through, in a way that you might miss just listening to the cast recording. If you're a Hamilfan yourself, I can't recommend getting a ticket to see it enough.

HAMILTON is at DPAC until June 5. You can find more information and buy tickets here.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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From This Author - Nicole Ackman

Nicole Ackman returned to her native Raleigh, North Carolina after living in London and New York City. She studied communications and history at Elon University and earned her Master’s in Arts... (read more about this author)

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Read our critic's review. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical remains every bit as engaging and innovative today as it was seven years ago. Under Thomas Kail’s direction, the show is one of the most unique to have made it big on Broadway.