CHICAGO --"Hamilton: An American Musical," the winner of 11 Tony awards including Best Musical, officially opened in Chicago Wednesday night for an open-ended run at the PrivateBank Theatre.
So was it worth the wait and the hype? FranklyHANK said: YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!
FRANKLYHANK'S REVIEW OF "HAMILTON"
I have seen musical theatre countless times over the last 20 years. I have seen so many shows I have forgotten some of the shows I have seen. I always remember the great ones though.
"Hamilton: An American Musical" is the best show I have ever seen in my life.
The musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, played brilliantly by Miguel Cervantes, born to a prostitute in the Caribbean. She dies when Hamilton is young and this poor boy with no prospects for a future goes on to get an education becoming the right hand of General George Washington in the Revolutionary War and later the US Treasury Secretary. By the way, actor Jonathan Kirkland takes full command as an excellent G.W. But of course, as history taught us, Hamilton made enemies along the way and one of them was a Senator named Aaron Burr, played amazingly by Joshua Henry who literally brought the show to a stand-still in his performance of "Right Hand Man," and later goes on to challenge Hamilton to a duel, ultimately taking his life.
Other principal roles in the cast include: Ari Afsar as Eliza Hamilton; Alexander Gemignani as King George; Chris De'Sean Lee as Marquis de Lafayette (but who explodes on stage as Thomas Jefferson); Tony Award-winner Karen Olivo as Angelica Schuyler; José Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton; Wallace Smith as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison; and Samantha Marie Ware as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds.
There is not a weak link in this cast; not a single weak link. The principal actors and the supporting ensemble blend seamlessly together in a mix of hip-hop, ballet, modern dance and jazz. Throw in some rap, spoken verse and a few ballads here and there and you have a dazzling songbook, and one hell of an original soundtrack.
At times I felt myself on the verge of tears not because what I was witnessing on the stage at the PrivateBank Theatre was sad, but because I was witnessing a living work of art. What creator and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda has done with "Hamilton" is truly astounding.
If you look at a masterful painting and admire it for the beautiful way the artist has taken spectacularly drawn lines and filled them in with brilliant colors of paint then the stage is Lin-Manuel Miranda's canvas. His breathtaking lyrics and soul-inspiring music are his spectacularly drawn lines weaving together the life of Hamilton and his utterly amazing cast is the paint that colorfully brings it all together.
"Hamilton: An American Musical" is a masterful work of art.
Check out a great "Hamilton" montage from the original Broadway below.
Hank Mendheim on Vimeo.
CAN I STILL GET TICKETS TO "HAMILTON?"
Yes, despite rumors, the show is not sold out. Tickets are available for select performances from March 2017 through September 2017. You can search dates at BroadwayInChicago.com.
You can also check with the box office at The PrivateBank Theatre (18. W Monroe) on the day of a performance for available tickets. House Seats that are assigned to cast members and producers may not be sold so the day of a performance they go back to the box office for sale. Also, lottery tickets that are not claimed also go back to the box office for sale to the public. So your timing has to be good, but it's not impossible.
Finally, you can always enter the "Hamilton" lottery. Each day, 44 seats will be sold in a random drawing. Winners get to buy one or two seats at just $10 each for some of the best seats in the house. Best of all, it is totally free to enter the lottery. You will need a credit card though to purchase tickets. You can find all of the details about the "Hamilton" lottery HERE.
"HAMILTON'S AMERICA" on PBS
If you have not had your "Hamilton" fix just yet, PBS is airing a documentary Friday, October 21 at 8 p.m. that should not be missed. "Hamilton's America" takes you not only behind-the-scenes as Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda writes the award-winning musical, but also infuses the real history of Alexander Hamilton. You even see snippets of Lin-Manuel's very first performance of "Hamilton" in 2009 at the White House, but do yourself a favor and watch the full performance HERE. It's fantastic and so is this PBS documentary with cameos by Presidents Obama and George W. Bush. You will learn so much about the founding father who helped define this country, created our monetary system and created our stock market. Yes, Alexander Hamilton.
Check your local listings for your PBS station and check out the trailer below.