It's rare that one person writes the book, music, and lyrics of a musical; most are written by pairs or teams of artists. It's even more rare that that person also stars in their creation. Who does that?! Lin-Manuel Miranda, that's who. Hamilton is his singular, cohesive, brilliant creation. And even though his excellent understudy Javier Muñoz filled in for him in the title role in the matinee on a two-show day that I saw, I still feel like I saw Lin-Manuel Miranda because this show is him. That's not to say he didn't have help - director Thomas Kail to keep the huge train that is the show on track, Andy Blankenbeuhler's sharp and modern and super cool choreography, Paul Tazewell's stunning period costumes with a modern twist, David Korins' design of a relatively simple but versatile and kinetic set, and of course, this amazing cast that brings Lin-Manuel's vision to vivid life.
|Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson with the cast|
The Hamilton cast recording was released recently and I was torn about whether to get it and listen to it, or wait and see the show first. I chose the latter, and now I cannot wait to download the album and listen to it obsessively. There are just so many words, and no matter how closely you pay attention (and you have to pay attention), you cannot catch them all on first viewing/listening. In fact, my stats friends at 538.com counted - Hamilton contains 3-4 times as many words as other musicals. That's insane. And brilliant. But it's not just the words, there are some great melodies too, that haven't left my head yet and likely won't for a long time.
|Aaron Burr with the Schuyler sisters|
(Leslie Odom, Jr., Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones,
and Renée Elise Goldsberry)
In summary, everything you've heard about Hamilton is true. It lives up to the hype, and so much more. I was expecting to laugh and be wowed, but I was not expecting to be moved to tears. This is a show that's both big and epic, and also intensely intimate and emotional. It'll make you laugh, think, cry, and feel every emotion under the sun. This is what musical theater can do, and this is a prime example of why musical theater is my favorite thing in the world. Thank you Lin-Manuel Miranda.
(Note: The only way to get tickets is to buy them well in advance from the show's website. This is one of those shows that is never going to have discounts available. So just do it, it's worth every penny.)
Read more of my Broadway reviews here.