Undoubtedly one of the most successful musicals of all time, Hamilton has revolutionized the world of Broadway. From its conception in 2015, the musical grew to be a part of American pop culture and a symbol of diversity, as it famously tells the story of “America then, as told by America now.” You don’t need to be adept in your American history ––or to be American in the first place–– to enjoy the musical. The power of its genius lyrics, choreography, costumes, orchestrations, and impressive raps are enough for any spectator to be glued to watching with awe and delight. Thus, it isn’t a surprise why it is loved by both fans and critics. If you haven’t had the chance to see the musical yet, this is your chance to see it live at the Durham Performing Arts Center as the famous musical production stops at North Carolina’s renowned venue.
“The greatest American musical in decades.” – Time Out New York
“It was phenomenal off-Broadway. It’s even better now. ‘Hamilton’ is that rare musical that fires on all cylinders, even ones we never knew existed.” – NY1
“The music is exhilarating, but the lyrics are a big surprise. The sense, as well as the sound of the sung dialogue, has been purposely suited to each character.” – Variety
Premiering off-Broadway on February 17, 2015, Hamilton is a musical narrating the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. That idea of another history-themed show may sound boring, but Hamilton will challenge the way one looks at history again. Told in a series of meaningful songs and genius raps, the musical is a brainchild of Lin-Manuel Miranda, an American actor, singer-songwriter, playwright, and filmmaker who is also known for his 2005 “In the Heights” musical. The show draws heavily from hip hop, as well as R&B, pop, soul, and traditional-style show tunes. In an innovative and genius approach to casting characters, the show is famous for casting non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures. As Miranda described the musical, Hamilton is about “America then, as told by America now.”
Looking at it objectively, Hamilton is a mostly rapped-through biomusical about an orphan immigrant, Alexander Hamilton, from the Caribbean who came to New York. He served as secretary to General Washington, fought against the redcoats, authored most of the Federalist Papers defending the Constitution, and founded the Treasury and the New York Post. To put that in a nutshell, that is as plain as it gets. However, the musical lets us into the life of America’s founding fathers and see their struggles using their own lenses. The story unfolds into a meaty drama as it delves deeper into the personal life of Hamilton, especially about the extramarital affair that he damage-controlled in a scandal-stanching pamphlet. With the iconic raps, songs, and unbelievable fast-paced production, we are then immersed into the industry and persona drama of the characters, which will end in the death of the main character after a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, the foil character of Alexander Hamilton. While Hamilton is presented as someone who seizes his moment and takes a stand (with his “I am not throwing away my shot” mantra), Burr is a passive, taciturn opportunist whom life passes by.
“I love Hamilton. I love it like I love New York, or Broadway when it gets it right. And this is so right. A sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda’s uniquely personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith, Hamilton hits multilevel culture buttons, hard. No wonder the show was anointed a sensation before even opening.”Timeout Magazine
“The thrill of this show, beautifully directed by Thomas Kail, is the way it makes events that happened centuries ago feel as fresh and as relevant as the political debates that are taking place today.” – The Economist
In the first weeks of opening, Hamilton received critical acclaim. Miranda himself played Alexander Hamilton. The show’s rave reviews spread like wildfire, becoming an instant hit. The musical’s several-month engagement was sold out. As a result, there was a long waiting list for people to get a glimpse of the sensation that was slowly sweeping the nation. Thus,
The musical won eight Drama Desk Awards, including “Outstanding Musical.” It then transferred to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, opening on August 6, 2015, where it received uniformly positive reviews and high box office sales. The musical continued to reap awards at the 70th Tony Awards when it bagged 11 awards, including “Best Musical,” out of the 16 record-breaking nominations. In 2016, it won the highly regarded Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The Chicago production of Hamilton began preview performances at the CIBC Theatre in September 2017 and opened the following month. Its West End production opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London on December 21, 2017, following previews on December 6 and winning seven Olivier Awards in 2018, including “Best New Musical.”
The production also went on tour to give fans all over the country the chance to witness the famous show. It began its national tour in March 2017. A second U.S. tour opened in February 2018, and the third U.S. tour began on January 11, 2019. Notably, a filmed version of the Broadway production was released in 2020 on Disney+ and was met with gratitude from fans worldwide.
Today, the famous production is again on the road for its 2022 tour. After the pandemic restrictions are slowly lifted, more shows are added to the lineup. The Broadway production will stop for a series of shows at the Durham Performing Arts Center in North Carolina starting May 17, 2022. Broadway’s Julius Thomas III, Edred Utomi, and Pierre Jean Gonzalez will play the role of Hamilton in each of the acts of the show.
“This is a musical often stunning in its audaciousness.” – Associated Press
“This enormously ambitious and entertaining musical history lesson is even more impressive on a second viewing.” – The Hollywood Reporter
Plan your spring events already and squeeze watching Hamilton into your busy schedules. Be enthralled by this legendary musical. As stated by the New York Theatre Guide, the end result is something much more than the story of one man. It is the story of how we each create our destiny and mark on the world. You leave the theater thinking about what you would like to do that you have not done. You leave the theatre filled with possibility. Click on the “Get Tickets” button to secure your Hamilton tickets! See you there!