by Lauren Means | photos courtesy Joan Marcus
You could feel the enthusiasm in the parking garage, you could feel the excitement in the lobby, and you could feel the energy in the theater. “Hamilton” has landed in Nashville. The highly anticipated and much talked about production has begun it’s multi-week run at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) and it was all you could expect and more. Performances run through January 19, 2020.
In case you have not heard of this show, here is a quick background. The musical “Hamilton” is comprised of music, lyrics, and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda pulled his inspiration from Ron Chernow’s biography “Alexander Hamilton.” The award-winning performance sets itself apart with the delivery of its content. The dialog is mainly through songs with influences from hip hop, R&B, and soul. “Hamilton” also uses diverse casting and with its unique method of storytelling, it is described as telling the story of America then by America now.
“Hamilton” tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Fathers, and other historical figures. If you are a little rusty on your history, fear not! I honestly did not find history interesting in high school so most of what I learned stayed with me long enough to pass an exam. If all history was told in Miranda’s style, I would have retained much more. I did not do much background reading before the show and I was still able to follow along without difficulty.
1776. New York City.
We jump right in at the beginning of the production learning about “a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman” who became “the ten-dollar founding father.” This describes Hamilton’s childhood and how he arrived in America as an orphaned immigrant. From there we learn how he met Aaron Burr, John Laurens, Marquis de Lafayette, and his future wife, Eliza Schuyler. We learn about the parts they play in the Revolutionary War, the Federalist Papers, and early Presidential elections.
We also learn about Hamilton’s personal life from marriage, infidelity, and loss of a child. It is the loss of his son that brought tears to the eyes of audience members. While there might have been a few creative liberties taken to move the story along, it was true to history in most aspects.
The entire cast was amazing with standout performances by Joseph Morales as Alexander Hamilton, Jared Dixon as Aaron Burr, and Ta’Rea Campbell as Angelica Schuyler. The vocals and chemistry between these three were infallible. Another crowd favorite was Neil Haskell who played King George. Although he is playing a dictator of sorts, he lightened the mood with his crowd interaction and humor. His vocals were also on point.
History is cyclic
“Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” These are some of Hamilton’s final thoughts. As he reflects on the legacy he is leaving, we should ponder the legacy we as a society now are leaving for our future America to tell. This story talks about education, immigration, equality, and taking care of your fellow man. All talking points that can be seen relived throughout history over and over again. This is why this production remains popular. We see ourselves living history over again. We need to make sure we are leaving behind a legacy we would be proud to have retold in 200 years.
The show is broken up into two acts with a 15-minute intermission. The show contains some strong language and non-graphic adult situations. “Hamilton” is appropriate for ages 10 and up. No child under age 3 will be admitted. Tickets for Hamilton are currently on sale. Patrons are advised to check the official Hamilton channels and tpac.org for late release seats which may become available at short notice. There are also tickets for each show through the $10 ticket lottery dubbed “Ham4Ham” which is playing off Hamilton being on the 10 dollar bill. The lottery for each performance opens at 11:00 a.m. two days prior to each performance. Visit http://hamiltonmusical.com/lottery for more information and to register.
It is also important to note there are some additional security protocols in place for “Hamilton”. You will be wanded before entering the theater and bags will be checked. Also, know self-parking rates may be increased. For more information and all the details, visit TPAC.ORG/HamiltonFAQ.
Editors note: This article has been updated to note there are still tickets being released as they are available in addition to the ticket lottery.