Coming to the Windy City to see Hamilton? Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to stand in a line that wraps around a Chi-town block, with your ticket closely guarded, as the excitement builds as you approach the entrance. Homeless men and women will beg for food and money, while tots dressed in their Sunday Best, will move along with their parents’ and quickly take their seats, awaiting the riveting opening number.
Latinos, African-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Asians take their places on stage, singing and dancing, using every inch of the area to share their interactions with the ambitious political figure, who would leave a lasting impact on this nation. The almost three-hour production is intense at times, but invokes the audience to sing along and dance in their seats. The casting director has chosen the absolute BEST people for their roles, as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Aaron Burr, James Madison and President George Washington take on Alexander Hamilton, one of the intellectual masterminds of our early government, and one to keep chaos going with his enemies. Ironically, these roles are men of color (even the understudy), with cultural nuisances and bold, street swagger. For example, the actor who portrays Thomas Jefferson can rap like Twista and dance like hip hop artist Chris Brown! The artistry is amazing and worth the ticket alone!
If the stage play, Hamilton an American Musical (Chicago cast) was mandated in today’s classrooms, all scholars would pass with high marks! The production, which was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is engaging, comical, memorable and comprehensive on all levels. Miranda’s musical was six years in the making and has won 11 Tony awards including best musical. Miranda has also won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
The lyrics teach history, the rap gives directives, the chorus line delivers the vocabulary and the actors entertain and educate the audience about one of America’s “founding fathers.” Alexander Hamilton used opportunity and his skills to “come-up” in this country and created the “Hamilton System” to eliminate the debt America incurred during the 1700s. Hamilton was truly a romantic and a renaissance man of many talents, while hated by many of his contemporaries.
There are many similarities one can draw from Hamilton, but the core of the play revolves around his political rivals, military career and trusting, naïve explores wife, Eliza (the former Elizabeth Schyler). Some of the saddest scenes explore their marriage and family. The Hamilton’s’ had eight children, but only the oldest one is featured in the play. Also, there is an emphasis on his wife’s money and prominence as a great catch, but, he left her destitute and in debt from living a fabulous lifestyle. The young widow outlived her husband by 50 years. Forgiveness is a theme that revolves around their union until death.
I would not bring young children to Hamilton, due to the very explicit language and sexual overtures in the production.
Information and facts courtesy of ushistory.org and the Smithsonian Museum.