Related Content from And There Came A Day
A funny thing happened on a trip to London… Sous Chef discover that she, The Cinnamon Girl and I could see Hamilton for a terrifically reasonable price, so reasonable, in fact, that we thought we might be being scammed as we purchased the tickets. They were ridiculously cheaper than the ones we had been looking at in the states (in New York, LA and Denver where we had opportunities, though not the cash to see the show). Adding to our suspicion was that these reasonable priced tickets were in Stall A – the first row – at the Victoria Palace Theater in the West End. It all seemed too good to be true and we did not trust our fortune until we were actually at the theater with tickets in hand.
Long story short:
So there we were, in London, seeing Hamilton for the first time from the front row.
It will not be any of our last time to see Hamilton, of that I can assure you.
Truth be told, The Cinnamon Girl was well ahead of the curve on this Alexander Hamilton business. As an AP US History teacher, she has been praising the story of Hamilton for as long as I have known her, well before the musical or Ron Chernow’s book. She was on top of this Hamilton thing way, way back and her students who pay attention have ever known who her favorite founding father is. Let us give credit where credit is due.
So I was very interested in what she would think of the show, of its staging and music, sure, but, more importantly, of its history. Would it capture the man and his story? According to The Cinnamon Girl, it did. Absolutely. While she pointed out to us the ways the show changed the story, skimped on the details and did an end-run around the facts, she could find very little problematic in the alterations.
And, as for the staging, the music, the pace and the book, well, just put us down with the millions of others who think Hamilton is an amazing, uplifting and remarkable experience. Put us down with those who want to see it again and again.
The particulars of the performance we saw: the cast was terrific and I was very taken by Giles Terera as Aaron Burr. Remember, we were in the front row and we could see every expression, every bit of sweat on the brow. Terera’s performance seemed absolutely effortless. His moves powerful, his voice insistent, his presence towering. He is, for the, the indelible memory of the show and that may not speak entirely well for Jamael Westman’s Hamilton himself, but he was terrific, too. I simply thought Terera was the outstanding part of an outstanding cast (Rachel An Go as Eliza Hamilton and Michael Jibson as King George deserve singling out, too).
We saw a wonderful performance and I will forever be moved by the idea that we got to see this quintessential American show in London! What a delight.
As for the show itself, the show that transcends the cast that puts it on and where it is performed, let us salute the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man behind Hamilton and its first star. What an amazing production he has conceived. What a testament to what America is and what it can be. What a brilliant show.
I believe (and I am likely not the first to suggest this – and I am assuming the staging of the show does not vary overly from venue-to-venue) that the brilliance of the show and the message it conveys can be summed up in one moment: the curtain call. As we rose to our feet in standing ovation for the show, I noted with some surprise that the cast was going to be recognized as one. They were going to be recognized together. They were going to be applauded as a community. We were not going to single out Washington or Jefferson or Angelica or even Hamilton himself. Rather, we were going to put our hands together – wildly – for this overtly and intentionally diverse cast of women and men who had so well entertained and informed us for the past three hours.
Diverse. Strong. Together.
Thank you, Lin-Manuel Miranda for this show, for making something as complex as the American Experiment so simple, for entertaining and informing and for making our spirits rise up.
You surely did not waste your shot.