You are undoubtedly already aware of the much celebrated and successful musical, HAMILTON. In fact, you’re probably already aware of its hiphop roots from famed composer and lyricists Lin-Manuel Miranda. However, If you aren’t already familiarized yourself with In The Heights or the music coming out of this instrumental, Broadway-changing show, then now is the time to hear it. HAMILTON has arrived in Costa Mesa at Segerstrom Center for the Arts and there are no more excuses to miss it! Not only does Lin-Manuel’s lyrical harmonies inspire us to improve upon our current political climate, but it also motivates our nation to improve inclusion.
HAMILTON raps and rhymes its way through its entire, nearly 3-hour long, running time (intermission included) and never skips a beat. There is no lag, no slowness. The shows opens with its strong preface, “Alexander Hamilton”, and is quickly followed by a chain of already incredibly popular numbers including the “Arron Burr, Sir” introduction that leads to the infamous “My Shot” epic crescendo. By song number 4 the audience already feels they are deeply engulfed in this world.
The audience, already bobbing their heads to hiphop beats are introduced to “The Schuyler Sisters” with a mash-able mix of late ‘80s rap and early ‘90s guitar riffs with the beautiful soft voices of Eliza, Angelica… and Peggy. Songs will continue through a dynamic range of styles firmly based around story-filled lyrics providing a history lesson like no other.
Boy do I ever wish I had this type of entertainment as a child. I think I would have learned, if not at least be more interested in American history. But, HAMILTON is not about the history we have alway been told. Instead, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s story focuses around a founding forefather that is never talked about, unless you’re counting a Got Milk commercial from the 90s.
There is no missing a word in HAMILTON. These rap-based poetic songs and the more musically grounded numbers will have your ears perked up like never before. Telling its story through rhythmic rhyming and catchy tunes, HAMILTON will have you intently listening to every word that rolls off the tongues of these talented individuals.
Joseph Morales plays Alexander Hamilton and is straight from the original Chicago HAMILTON company. Morales perfectly resembles Lin-Manuel’s original performance without feeling like he’s just an imitation. Marcus Choi plays a strong George Washington and makes a perfect MC during the shows rap battles. The Schuyler sisters had perfect vocal range. But when it all comes down to it, two people steal the show. Kyle Scatliffe played the roles of Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in our performance, and was just… EVERYTHING. Flamboyantly perfect as both. He would make for an excellent Lola in Kinky Boots. The other showstopper and deserving of his own ovation would be King George himself. With only a few numbers, Jon Patrick Walkers portrayal was unforgettable and hilarious. I could see a one-man show with Walkers.
There are countless other mentionable performances, but I would rather emphasize all players were as good as anyone could ask for. All extremely talented, fitting their part well and matching perfectly to the Broadway cast recordings that I assume many have already listened to countless times. Those who know the music and attend should feel fortunate just to be in the presence of such a momentous and important show.
This isn’t a show that has gained popularity just because it has great music or stellar performances, but rather because of the story it tells. A forgotten story told in such a uniquely original way that allows the audience to forget the ethnicities that are purposely different than their non-fictional counterpart. The purpose is to perhaps not forget that Hamilton is played by Puerto Rican, Thomas Jefferson is played by a black man, or that George Washington is Asian; instead that these immigrants are just as vital to the creation of our nation as our white founding forefathers. Above all else, breaking down these barriers and the removal of the “big wigs” allows the story to feel more relatable, even more palatable.
HAMILTON encourages positive change and reminds us to re-tell the important stories from our past to ultimately help us understand where we came from and how we can move toward a better tomorrow. Oh, and the stage is cool too.
Despite popular belief, at the time I am writing this, there are still some select seats available through Segerstrom! For more info, visit scfta.org.