Thursday, March 16, 2017

Is the 'Hamilton' hype worth it? You bet.

We did it. We finally saw Hamilton: An American Musical in Chicago. It was the most expensive show I’ve ever bought tickets for. And, while I am really going to have budget my money for a while now because of it, Hamilton was totally worth it

Over the last few years, even as the acclaim has grown and everyone was quoting the show, I’d intentionally avoided listening to the show’s soundtrack, figuring that when I did finally get a chance to see the production I wanted to experience it as a fresh, full theater experience instead of as a concert of songs I’d grown familiar with performed live. With something that has garnered as much buzz as this show has I really wanted to approach it with as few preconceived notions as possible. Somehow I pulled it off!

And I am very gad that I did. Aside from the general historical storyline, everything in the show was a delightful surprise. The first few minutes were challenging, since it does take a moment to absorb the rapid-fire rhythmic vocal delivery coming at you, but once you grasp it, its easy to sink back and just let it wash over and into you.

I think the most purely entertaining parts of the show centered around the appearances of King George, played deliciously and perfectly by Alexander Gemignani. I was in stitches every time, and his vocal control was astounding.*

(As if there is a weak vocal performance in the whole show. Because there isn’t.)

And seeing Wayne Brady as Aaron Burr only reinforced what an amazing all around talented performer that man is.

I mean, heck, every single cast member was pretty amazing. The vocal acrobatics and aggressive physicality of the performances could have distracted me had I been able to focus on just how superhuman some of it was, but the actors made it all feel so natural and real and effortless. You truly do get lost in the play. And yeah, I even teared up; so its emotional component is real as well.

Will I turn into some person that sings along to the soundtrack non-stop? Nope. But that ain't the point, kid.

Have I turned into some person constantly humming Hamilton's refrains under my breath, though?


So, yeah, I buy the hype. The ticket prices are worth it. Hamilton really is a triumph and the sort of thing that comes along once in a generation—so now I get why everyone has been hyperventilating over Hamilton since 2015. The show leaves you legitimately breathless.

*Honestly, I know he didn't originate the role I have a really hard time envisioning anyone else other than Gemignani in this role because he was so perfect. So much so now I want a Hamilton spin-off based on King George

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