The more you watch “Hamilton,” the more you discover and savor; the more you observe, the more you reflect on how impactful the Lin-Manuel Miranda mega-hit is with parallels in modern-day history.
Happily, the touring company dubbed “And Peggy,” now ensconced at the Blaisdell Concert Hall for a historic eight-week run, is the longest any show has cast its anchor here. It opened Wednesday night (Dec. 7) and runs through Jan. 29, 2023, with a well-honed cast carrying on the ebullient tradition of the musical still running in New York.
The Dec. 8 show was my fourth visit to “Hamilton,” and I’m still on a high. And I’m attending the show again, tonight (Dec. 10).
The hip-hop/rap score, with occasional R&B tunes, still is vibrant with diverse blind casting that initially might throw you a curve. Many African Americans are in the company, including DeAundre Woods as Alexander Hamilton (commanding and conniving, propelling the story of America’s founding father ), and George Washington (Darnell Abraham, splendid and convincing) and Aaron Burr (Donald Webber Jr., dominating as Hamilton’s clever and conniving frenemy), and they all quickly define their characters with drum-beat perfection. The rap genre boasts lines and words and these dudes have mastered the delivery of smooth lyrics, in synch with the tempos of hip-hop.
The delivery is smooth and audibility is clear, without being overbearing. The facility’s sound often has been a source of irritation –often difficult to hear a singer or appreciate the musicianship — but there’s no quibbling here.
First thing I noticed: the new-look set by David Korins (two levels, with a stylish “unfinished” fringe above the catwalk platform) augmented with lighting tweaks by designer Howell Binkley (his pallet includes orange and light blue-grey hues, with eye-catching tones that change periodically enhancing the performing space). Paul Tazwell’s costumes (properly light and bright, from formal soldier wear to elegant gowns) add to the spectacle.
(These technical team members are the show’s original artisans, so there’s powerful energy and imagination, for the road shows).
And yep, Hamilton’s “just you wait, just you wait” pitch in the opening number, is an indication he’s a do-er and he does. A political fighter and leader, who’s not afraid of verbal spats; a romantic, who has indiscretions; fearless and perhaps reckless; the secretary of treasury who takes a bullet. These are echoes of modern politicos.
Eliza Hamilton (Morgan Anita Wood, elegant and faithful) marries Hamilton and outlives him by 50 years is the portrait of The Victim) and her sister Peggy Schuyler (Rebecca Covington, the commanding adulteress who becomes The Other Woman in Hamilton’s life) are equals in precision and perfection. Angelica Schuyler (Maria Harmon, superb, is the third Schuyler sister and intellectual equal of Hamilton).
Two other characters will wow the audience: King George (Rick Negron, comedic and captivating, via his hilarious “You’ll Be Back” anthem) and Marquis de Lafayette (Paris Nix, outrageous as Hamilton’s comrade, doubling as Thomas Jefferson).
Those fearing and uneasy of rap shouldn’t worry; the form is part of prolific Miranda’s language has been an avenue of success, not changing, but augmenting Broadway ever-changing landscape and map; it’s not the gansta rap where hip-hip is commonly adults-only vocabulary.
Further, the revolving stage is intact and in motion, a design factor popularized by the “Les Miserables” model, and it works well in “Hamilton,” rotating performers with choreographic swirls.
The whole shebang is choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, orchestrated by Alex Lacamoire, and directed by Thomas Kail, all from the original award-winning Broadway team.
And that’s Show Biz. …