* Notes *
The first U.S. tour of Hamilton started in San Francisco on March 10 and already looks like a huge success. There are only two more previews before the show official opens this Thursday but it very much seems like most of the kinks have been worked out, Sunday's evening performance was tight and synchronized.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical is sharp, he brings these distant historical figures to life with hip-hop, humor, and an excellent multi-ethnic cast. It is incredible how many words he got into the 2 hours and 30 minutes of music. There's only one set which includes a revolving section in the middle, some movable staircases, and a small balcony above. The staging involves all the fancy dance numbers you would associate with any musical, with the ensemble members all singing as well.
Michael Luwoye's Hamilton is charismatic, especially in Act I. Solea Pfeiffer has a bright sound and is a lovely, sympathetic Eliza Hamilton. Joshua Henry (pictured left, photograph by Joan Marcus) does a fine job with the role of Aaron Burr, and is much more than a one-dimensional villain of the story.
It always impresses me that musicals have such tiny orchestras, in this case two keyboards (one played by conductor Julian Reeve), drums, percussion, bass, guitar, and a string quartet.
It was such fun seeing how excited all the audience members were to be there. One young fan in Row M clutched the Hamilton: The Revolution book, which she seemed to have brought to the show. The woman next to me in Row N Seat 10 knew every song and often sang along. A woman behind me clapped her hands with such vigor she made contact with my head twice, her companion loved the piece so much she wanted to see it again. As I walked back to our car with my date, a couple behind us talked about putting the musical soundtrack on as they drove home.
Personally my take ways were the following: I don't think I like musicals (which is so weird, since I love opera so much) and I remember an alarming amount from U.S. history class in high school even though I haven't really thought about the American Revolution since I was about 15.