All the hype about “Hamilton” is real.

I was lucky enough to catch the August 31, 2018 showing at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota and am so glad I was.  Unlike many people I had talked to regarding it, I had not listened to the music ahead of time.  I never do.  I found that a lot of people listen to the music ahead of time when it comes to musicals, but I like my introduction to the music to be with all its elements.  My first memories of “My Shot”, “Satisfied” and more is seeing all the amazing choreography, costumes, and more intertwined with them. The most I knew about the actual plot of this musical was that Alexander Hamilton was somehow involved in it, although I knew not how much or how, so I wondered how it would all play out.   Something incredibly interesting about this musical is that it tells the story of Alexander Hamilton and the times around him in a way that I don’t ever recall it being done before.  Characters that are based on real people are played by multiple races, for example.  Examples of this include and Asian George Washington and the fantastic African American Thomas Jefferson.  The music and choreography is all hip hop and rap based, something I didn’t know until it was mentioned to be about a month back.  The reason all of this is so interesting to me is because the reactions from the audience is so fun to watch.
The audience in the “Hamilton” musical is a serious mixed bag.  There is the typical theater crowd of the older, richer people than the rest who go to the theater nearly ever week, if not more than that.  There’s the middle ground people like me who get to go to theater occasionally and are super psyched about it.  There’s are the stereotypical twenty-some year olds that are more excited to see it for the hype.  Finally, there are the children that have been brought to it by their parents.   Beginning with the younger kids (I’m talking younger than eight years old), I don’t know why their parents would bring them to “Hamilton”.  I get that their parents may want them to get the theater culture, but “Hamilton” tickets are really expensive and it would also be a tough one for little kids to absorb.  I went to a lot of theater when I was little, but it was all stories that I was very familiar with, so I could follow along.  The children in front of me fell asleep after the first act.  The twenty-some year olds were pretty absorbed in it, so I feel they got a bigger kick out of it than they expected, or they had just been listening to the music so much on Spotify and were very excited to see it live.  The reactions of the older, more experienced theater goers was my favorite, as they didn’t understand a lot of what was going on.
I would recommend “Hamilton” to anyone.  Even if you aren’t into listening to rap or hip hop, I feel it’s interesting to see the story told in such a way.  A few notes to those planning to attend “Hamilton”, as some for any musical in general are as follows.  It’s three hours long if you include the intermission, so plan for that.  A lot of people behind me thought that it was over when the intermission hit.  It’s not – stay until the end.  Another thing, the Orpheum Theater did not give any indication that the intermission was ending.  Due to the sold out show, the bathroom lines were very long and many people missed the first two to three numbers after the intermission.  I really felt for them on that.  So again, plan ahead on that.  I don’t drink anything at the theater for this reason alone.  Finally, use common courtesy when you are at the theater.  The people behind me talked through the whole first act and then, surprisingly, during the intermission said that they wished the musical had closed captions.  Maybe if you were quieter, you could pay attention and understand what is happening.  When you talk in the theater, even if it is quietly, the people ahead of you pick it up very well and it’s difficult to block it out.  Also, turn off your phone.  A man down the aisle from  me had his phone ring on two different occasions.  We all know how expensive “Hamilton” tickets are and how popular it is.  Don’t ruin the show for those around you.
“Hamilton” is a play that starts out running and doesn’t stop for hours.  A lot of people ask me what all the hype is and all I can say is that you have to see it to understand.  Even if you are a big fan of the music, do what you can to see it live on stage. Review Tracy Hansen – Photos from Hamilton Production.