Hamilton...An American Musical

Based on the biography written by Ron Chernow, Hamilton tells the story of an Immigrant from the West Indies who goes on to become a war hero, the subject of the country’s first sex scandal, George Washington’s right hand man and the father of our economic system. The story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers is told through music that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway music. Lin Manuel-Miranda wrote this play, music, lyrics and book.  Hamilton has become a breakout hit since its Broadway debut in 2015. The shows are constantly sold out and they have achieved both critical and audience acclaim.  Hamilton the musical has won 11 Tony Awards, including best musical, a Grammy for best musical theatre album and a Pulitzer Prize for drama.  They are currently on a US Tour and they have an open run at the Private Bank Theatre in Chicago. 

The story of Hamilton is a story of America then, told by America now
— BroadwayInChicago.com

These are the hottest theatre tickets in Chicago right now so I was thrilled when my son’s mentor offered us a chance to go. I jumped at the opportunity because I’ve wanted to see this show for so long. The show exceeded all of my expectations.  I cannot articulate how much I enjoyed this show!  The show is 2 hours and 45 minutes long and told in two acts with a 15 minute intermission. The first act summarizes Alexander Hamilton's (Miguel Cervantes) early life as young man who comes to New York to support American Independence.  He bonds with three like-minded individuals, abolitionist, John Laurens (Jose Ramos) Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette (Chris De’Sean Lee) and the tailor’s apprentice, Hercules Mulligan (Wallace Smith). He also meets Aaron Burr (Daniel Breaker) who advises him to “talk less and smile more”.  He thinks Hamilton is overenthusiastic and hot-headed.  Hamilton and his three new friends eventually join the Continental army where Hamilton becomes George Washington’s (Jonathan Kirkland) right hand man.  Hamilton repeatedly asks for a command but Washington refuses, adding to Hamilton’s frustration.  As the revolution continues, Hamilton marries Eliza Schuyer (Ari Afsar) and starts a family.   People are amazed by Hamilton’s oratorical skills.   The first act ends with Hamilton accepting the job of Treasury secretary, at the newly elected president, George Washington’s request.  This first act is full of memorable scenes and cameos by the British King, played hilariously by Alexander Gemignami.

The Second Act introduces Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.  Jefferson is asked to help stop Hamilton’s financial plan which James Madison believes gives to much control to the government. Jefferson and Hamilton debate the merits of this plan in an epic Cabinet Meeting that looks like old school hip hop cypher/freestyle.   It’s one of my favorite moments of the play.  Hamilton is struggling with balancing home and his passion for getting this financial plan passed. In a moment of weakness, he begins an affair with Maria Reynolds and eventually is blackmailed by her husband.   The second act focuses on Hamilton attempting to get this financial act passed with very little public support.  A series of tragic events, publication of the “Reynolds Pamphlet” and the death of his son damages his reputation.  He continues to attempt to repair his image by endorsing a presidential candidate that he believes in, angering his former friend and sometimes enemy, Aaron Burr who is also running for the office.  Burr challenges him and eventually kills Hamilton sealing his legacy as a villian.  The scene is beautifully done with a epic and poignant monologue on Hamilton’s life, death, relationships and legacy.  The play ends with the company gathering in a song that reminds the audience of Hamilton’s legacy and contribution to the American Government. 

The show went by so fast, I had no idea it was 2 hours and 45 minutes until I read it later.  My teenage son and tween daughter loved it immensely and I left entertained but I also left with knowledge about Alexander Hamilton that I never knew.  The cast was absolutely phenomenal! They made me laugh and cry at moments during the show. I had an opportunity to meet some of the cast members after the show and was thrilled to meet, actor Chris De’Sean Lee, who plays Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. I was floored to find out he is still in college as a junior and this is his first professional role! WOW! He was gracious, warm and grateful for the opportunity to be part of such an amazing cast.  The diversity, the varying musical styles,  the production, the set design and the incredible acting and musical numbers kept me engrossed the entire show. Hamilton is a production that will clearly go down in history as one of the best musicals ever. If you can score tickets, I highly recommend seeing this show.  It’s an open run so it appears it will be in Chicago for a while, which is great because I definitely want to see it again!

Grab the Grammy Award winning soundtrack here!!!  Click the Image below

You can get tickets to Hamilton Chicago at http://www.ticketmaster.com/Hamilton-Chicago-tickets/artist/2203491?brand=bicartist&camefrom=CFC_BIC_BUYAT_bic2000&_ga=2.230441308.1942067813.1493914611-786124348.1493914611

Hamilton Chicago offers $10 tickets via a digital lottery for all performances.  Enter the lottery here: https://lottery.broadwaydirect.com/show/hamilton-chicago/

Find more information on Hamilton http://www.hamiltonbroadway.com/