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Review: HAMILTON at The Paramount Theatre

Review: HAMILTON at The Paramount Theatre

The phenom is back and as glorious as ever.

Review: HAMILTON at The Paramount Theatre
Julius Thomas III and the
North American Tour of Hamilton.
Photo credit: Joan Marcus

The juggernaut, the glory, the hot ticket in town has returned. Yes, "Hamilton", that multiple Tony Award winning phenomenon that's still a big seller on Broadway has made its way back to Seattle and, good news, you have a bit over a month to catch it. Even better news, they're doing the lottery for $10 tickets again. And possibly the best news, this production and its cast are fantastic!

The Lin-Manuel Miranda opus is, of course, just as great as it ever was as we examine the life and eventual (spoiler alert) death of one of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. A man who worked his way up from nothing, an immigrant with no family or prospects, only to become one of the framers of our government and the man who launched the US to be a financial superpower in the world. But expect no white wigs or old English as this history is told by largely people of color and through hip hop, rap and musical theater. The history is still there but with a bit of poetic license and a very modern package.

With Miranda's book, music and lyrics, combined with Andy Blankenbuehler's killer choreography, this show ranks up there for me as one of those few perfect pieces. So, it's a small wonder that it's still the phenom that it was when it started back in 2015.

But as good as the show is, it still requires a powerhouse cast to be able to tell it just right. It is NOT an easy show. A show like this requires an outstanding Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton to lead the story. (Check and check.) And some magnificent Schuyler sisters as the heart of the piece. (Triple check.) Let's start with those strong-willed sisters. Marja Harmon leads them off beautifully as the eldest Angelica and when you hear her reach those crescendos in "Satisfied", you'll think you've heard from the Gods. Not to be outdone is Milika Cherée (an understudy on the night I attended) as Eliza, Alexander's loving and beleaguered wife, who brought us to tears by the end. And let's not forget the often-forgotten Peggy who didn't have much as Peggy but as Maria Reynolds, Rebecca E. Covington nailed it!

Equally powerful were the trio of guys Paris Nix, Brandon Louis Armstrong and understudy Justin Showell (understudies, they get the job done!) as Alexander's cohorts in Act One and foils and son in Act Two. Nix was a delicious rogue in both roles and Armstrong brought in some mighty vocals. But it was Showell who broke our hearts as Laurens, and Alexander's son Philip. I must mention the commanding Commander in Chief, Darnell Abraham and our hysterical King George, Rick Negron. And, of course, one of the hardest working ensembles around today.

Review: HAMILTON at The Paramount Theatre
Julius Thomas III and Donald Webber, Jr. in Hamilton.
Photo credit: Joan Marcus

But this show is carried by Burr and, of course, by the titular Hamilton and the two we had, Donald Webber, Jr. and Julius Thomas III, were outstanding. Webber starts the show with a subtle but wry smile from the get-go, giving us a very layered and heartfelt performance. Especially during his "Dear Theodosia" which elicited more than a few hankies. And Thomas has enough stage presence for 10 Hamiltons with his expressive eyes and stunner smile. And both brought in the most crystal clear and formidable vocals of the night. Both were an absolute pleasure to watch and listen to and rank up there with some of the best I've seen.

If you've never seen Hamilton live (and you really should as the Disney + recording can't compare to seeing it in person) or you've never seen it at all, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. And if you have seen it, no one is saying you can't partake in a little Hamilton goodness again, and this one will certainly satisfy. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give the North American Tour of "Hamilton" currently at the Paramount Theatre a patriotic YAY. Just go and be in the room where it happens.

"Hamilton" performs at the Paramount Theatre through September 11th. For tickets or information visit Seattle Theatre Group online at www.stgpresents.org.

TodayTix


From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)


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