Would you care for a spectacle, one that relives one’s rise to power, heroism, scandal, betrayal and, of course, tragedy? I think you know where I’m going with this, especially if you have read the title of this post. Lin Manuel Miranda’s epic tale of an American founding father, which is the most popular Broadway musical on the planet, is touring the nation-and right now it’s playing at the Marcus Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee. This super popular show is simply known as Hamilton.
Wait, was my first paragraph too much hype? Actually, I think I hit my mark with that intro. With a cast, some members very reminiscent of the original players, who all happen to be first rate singers and actors, not to mention rappers, I was wholly entertained during the three hour duration of this production.
The Marcus Performing Art Center is a fitting venue, especially for a production of this magnitude. It’s located in Milwaukee’s downtown, situated in a portion known as the Water Street District. With the auditorium’s five levels, it encompassed a bedazzled audience, an audience wholly engaged in an electrifying event.
While there was an orchestra pit, and sometimes the background singers and music drowned out the lead characters’ vocals, I almost felt as if I were listening to the soundtrack, only a slightly modified version of that auditory piece of art.
As for the stage, while seemingly pulled from a structure from the 18th century, that state of the art masterpiece was spot on, at least as far as I could tell, and served as an ample setting for some fun and enthralling performances.
I actually felt some of the individual performances were better, while Hamilton, played by Edred Utomi , was something I had to get used to, others were a step above the actors in the original cast. I Thought George Washington, played by Paul Oakley Stovall, was a more suitable fit than Christopher Jackson in Lin Manuel Miranda’s production. The show, all and all, had the same compelling vivaciousness, added with bits of raw emotional power, that captivated my being. A few moments, during the performance, I had to sheepishly wipe a tear from my eyes.
After the show was finished, I was uplifted. I know, the end was tragic, as one can’t change Alexander Hamilton’s fate, but you’re reminded how this man’s legacy is secure. As time and again, his story will be told, in a very entertaining manner, on a stage for at least a few more years.