I recently wrote on FB about my experience with seeing the juggernaut that is HAMILTON recently so I thought I'd post it here as well. Enjoy!
Ok, I'm about a week and a half late (shut it down, haters), but here are my thoughts on finally seeing HAMILTON last week. It's gonna be a long one so I'll start with just the bullet point highlights for those who have to run... or have a life or something.
- Shocker: this show destroyed me!! It's soooo good...!!
- The production with its current cast is an entirely different show from the OBC version - and that's a great thing.
- Many aspects of the show (audio, choreo, lighting) were WAY more vivid and impacting than I had imagined; they made me lean into certain moments, only to get knocked back hard into my seat (e.g. the button on My Shot?!? - COME ON!!)
- I teared up about 5 or 6 times - only 2 of those were due to something sad actually happening (see previous comment for some of the other causes)
- I'd love to see it again (duh), but with a completely healthy cast. If what we watched is what they're capable of while not feeling 100% and on a midweek matinee with no VIPs (besides us, I mean) in the house, then I can only imagine how much more blown away I'd be.
Ok, ciao and até logo, busy folk. If you can stand to keep going, read on...
Everything that can be said about the show has pretty much already been said so this is just one man's take, nothing too earthshattering to follow. It's also a pros/cons take, not all gold.
Since it opened, we've all read 1000 stellar reviews, every one of them 100% dead on, completely warranted and far better articulated than mine will be. However, this was a LIVE anything-can-happen performance a little more than 2 yrs into its run... and it sporadically showed some fatigue.
I've been fortunate to experience or participate in a handful of "events" in my life and career that aren't merely seeing a great show or meeting/working with someone whom I admire. Seeing HAMILTON definitely felt like one such "event," just not entirely as I had anticipated. The moments, songs, individual performances, overall theatricality, etc. that were great were Holy Crap REALLY GREAT, fully locked in and flawlessly executed. That, unfortunately, meant that any of the performances that weren't as strong or lacked conviction and precision really stood out. Thankfully, those were very few/far between and were completely dwarfed by everyone and everything else happening on stage.
It won't surprise any of you to read that the current cast is PHE-NO-ME-NAL across the board, but the 2 real standouts of the production for me were Daniel Breaker as Burr (more on him later) and... Andy Blankenbuehler's choreography/staging. I know, I know - that second one seems odd, but hear me out.
I knew (or rather reeeeeaaally hoped) that the 10-piece orchestra would be amazing (and they absolutely were!), the ensemble would be strong (and they were with very few exceptions) and that the set/props/costumes/lighting would be incredible - and they all were. What completely caught me off-guard and blew my mind, however, was how much of THIS particular story was so powerfully told through the choreo/movement/staging. I won't even attempt to explain the why, I just know HOW it made me feel. I can't remember ever being so struck by how much of the pathos, humor, and historical/personal narrative from start to finish came across purely through the body language and synchronicity with every other element, human or otherwise, on stage and off.
And finally to Mr. Burr, sir. Breaker gives one of the most indelible, nuanced, deeply layered, humorous/sometimes hilarious, heartfelt/sometimes heartbreaking, impassioned performances I have ever seen in any show and on any stage. He completely redefined my concept of a character that I know (or thought I knew) so well. Now let's don't be silly, folks - Leslie Odom absolutely crushed as Burr and I love how he characterized the man and originated the role. I'm merely saying that Breaker's Burr was the only performance I watched on stage that was in every way NOT as I had expected based on the recording and all the videos and interviews I've watched and listened to prior to seeing the show. (Maaaany a YouTube rabbit hole has been thoroughly spelunked...)
I absolutely love/d this show. My sons, family, friends and colleagues who've seen it also love/d this show. I love/d everything about this current iteration and really hope I'm able to see it again at some point. This, for me, is that rare show that has continually evolved and become more and more rich and meaningful to me over the years for a whole host of reasons.
If you've not yet had the opportunity to experience it and witness history (not hyperbole, believe me), I sincerely hope you have the chance to do so, and sooner rather than later. And with friends!!
I think it'll be around for a while.... ;p