|Elijah Malcomb, Joseph Morales, Kyle Scatliffe,
Fergie L. Philippe and Company (photo by Joan Marcus)
Hamilton is incredibly dense, in words (more than twice as many as most musicals) and themes (freedom, identity, legacy, adultery, war, loyalty), so that four times isn't even enough to catch everything. Songs range from rapid rap battles, to uptempo hip-hop songs, to lovely ballads. The musical themes are as intricate and complex as are the lyrics (with some references to musical theater - LMM is a composer who loves musicals). The piece is almost entirely sung through, with little spoken dialogue. There is constant movement onstage, thanks to Thomas Kail's Tony-winning direction, Andy Blankenbuehler's Tony-winning choreography (performed with precision by this fab ensemble, more on them later), and the rotating concentric circles on the stage. Yet the busyness and movement is nicely balanced by quiet character moments in this nearly perfectly constructed musical.
|the Schuyler sisters: Shoba Narayan, Ta'Rea Campbell
and Nyla Sostre (photo by Joan Marcus)
|Nik Walker as Aaron Burr
(photo by Joan Marcus)
Other highlights in the cast include Joseph Morales in the title role, a strong and sympathetic Hamilton; Shoba Narayan as the sweet Eliza; Ta'rea Campbell (last seen at the Opheum as the star of Sister Act) as Angelica, with a fabulous earthy voice; Marcus Choi as our noble first president; Kyle Scatliffe, Desmond Sean Ellington, and Elijah Malcomb as Hamilton's first act buddies and second act adversaries/son; Nyla Sostre as the third Schuyler sister and woman Ham can't say no to (I'll tell you how to say no to that: it starts with an N and ends with an O); and last but not least, Jon Patrick Walker with a totally unique, ridiculous, and hilarious characterization of good old King George. They're surrounded by a terrifically talented and hard-working ensemble playing multiple roles and performing the super cool choreography (all while dressed in chic modern-retro costumes, natch).
|can you imagine a politician who considers himself
our obedient servant?!
(personal photo from the Museum of American Finance in NYC)
Hamilton continues in Minneapolis through October 7, before it moves on to the next stop on the tour. For more on Hamilton, check out the three-part series by my charmingly obsessed friends at Minnesota Theater Love.
|the grave of Eliza and Alexander Hamilton
(personal photo from Trinity Church in NYC)
*Oskar Eustis will be appearing at Mixed Blood Theatre for a conversation in February as part of their "Zealous Hellions" series.
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.