Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Man on the Ten Dollar Bill Gets His Own Musical

When everyone talks about the best thing to hit New York in (insert year or show here), I cringe and get nervous to go and see it; always afraid it won't live up to the hype.

When I walked out of the Public Theater tonight, I tweeted to Lin-Manuel Miranda that I bow to his brilliant mind.

Hamilton the musical is absolutely mind blowing genius. Who would ever think "I'll follow up my Tony winning musical In
The Heights with a hip-hop explosion that mixes a history lesson of past and present"…Mr. Miranda, that's who. I will just jump right in and say that I don't enjoy rap. There, I said it. Crucify me now. Yet the poetry that is his book for this show kept my mind going non-stop and smiling at the turn of a phrase, the way he mixed something familiar with something new, and his brilliant rhyme scheme. And then when my mind couldn't handle that any longer, he would switch gears and give us a beautiful song. (I can't wait to own the cast recording.)

But Hamilton is so much more. It is the awesome work of Thomas Kail and Andy Blankenbuehler who have directed and choreographed this piece to where I was exhausted watching this cast tirelessly take us on a musical and historical journey. The cast never stops and they use their bodies to create everything imaginable in a dance motion that honestly can't be described. It's the scenic design by David Korins, lighting by Howell Binkley, costumes by Paul
Tazewell, Sound by Nevin Steinberg and hair and wigs by Charles G. Lapointe that all add to an overall awesome (and I mean that word in its true sense) experience.

The cast are an amazing ensemble. So much so, that I'm almost afraid to single any one person out because they are all so wonderful to watch…right down to every ensemble dancer. Glorious singing voices, energy coming from them that makes you want to jump to your feet at several moments in the show, dance and power and strength that exude from their bodies. Again…blown away.

And somehow in the middle of all of this, Mr. Miranda  teaches us a story about that man that lives in our wallet on a ten dollar bill that honestly, I haven't given much thought about him. But I sure am now. By telling a historic story that ties to the world we live in today, Hamilton makes us feel for these people as if they were still alive…even as all of the actual people are played in non-traditional casting (another brilliant move) - I'm not sure I'll be able to think of George Washington again and not picture the incredible black man portraying him on stage tonight.

Bravo to every single person involved with bringing this historical lesson to the stage. Thank you to the Public Theater for continuing your work of excellence downtown. Hamilton closes this Sunday off-Broadway and boy is this summer gonna heat up when it hits Broadway July 13 (starting previews the day after Hamilton died in 1804). I'm telling you…you'll run right home and try to read up more on this man…thankfully someone has told his story.


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