World Hit: ‘Hamilton’ Hits Boston


Kelley Kazorek, Staff Writer

This generation’s musical phenomenon, Hamilton, hit Boston on September 18th and stayed for two months till November 18th. The modern musical follows through the life of a young founding father, Alexander Hamilton, through his struggles personally and politically. The cast of 18 goes through Alexander Hamilton’s life from the time he lands in New York from Saint Kitts till his death, as they tell us in the opening number is by one of his first friends. The 3 hour show covers all aspects of Hamilton’s life; educational, political, and emotional. We learn about his unique desire of education and talent in writing, that even attracted future President George Washington to notice him. His friendship with Washington led him to go from soldier to lawyer to junior delegate to creator of the national bank. We also get a look into his family life, his relationship with his friends, wife, sister-in-laws and a few other members of society. The show is almost entirely in the music, with only a single small scene with actual dialogue. The characters all sing and all but one rap at least once in the show. Eliza Schuyler Hamilton is the only one to not rap in the show at all.

The show production was done spectacularly well, things happening on every angle of the stage so that the audience could see at least something of a scene, but this was an issue as when a part of a scene was on the very far stage left on the balcony of the stage, people from stage right section of the audience couldn’t see it as well and vice versa for the viewers on the left hand side. The show was also the only show to have a spinning circle on the stage where it can change the way and speed it spins to add to the affect of the choreography as some moments everyone on stage is frozen but yet the stage moves so we can see every actor on stage holding their poses and telling their piece of the story.

The talented touring cast was ready to take on the Boston, as many of the actors and actresses know many different character parts and are always ready to fill in as understudies. On the night of the show I went to I had an understudy for Lafayette/Jefferson and a few Ensemble roles, but you almost couldn’t tell as Jean Godsend Floradin played the part so flawlessly I forgot he was not the main actor for a while. The show actors and actresses were ready to perform that afternoon as the show started with an amazingly strong opening number, the stage slowly filling with the actors as they entered through the song. The first time “Alexander Hamilton” was sung by Austin Scott, the main Hamilton actor, they added a moment’s pause as the audience erupted into applause and cheers, less than a minute into the musical. Peter Smith who plays King George, has one of the hardest characters to play. The King is merely there as comic relief but yet is the most vile, he was good at making the audience laugh and be able to take a nice break from the sadness of the show we had been seeing but he seemed to play the king not as controlling as I would have thought he would be. The show continued on when small issues would happen such as word mess ups or when wrong notes were hit by the actors, which takes lots of skills for the other actors on stage not to react to the mess ups, so well done to everyone in the cast.

The main characters were amazingly talented, but as a theatre kid I look at the ensemble to see truely how well a cast is taught and how the musical is as a whole. The Ensemble carried the show, literally and figuratively. The Ensemble had many moments were they would have to freeze holding either a prop set or another person, and then having to move sharply on the next beat. The Ensemble was always ready to move something if it was out of place of had been forgotten to be striked off the stage, as many moments I saw people quickly adjusting things or slipping out and casually pushing things off backstage. The ensemble was part of almost every stage change, making you stay in the story as you’re not witnessing someone in an all black outfit trying to move something on secretly but by having the actors do it in their characters, helping the flow of the story.

Beyond just the cast, you can tell how hard the crew works with the lighting changes blended perfectly with the emotion they wanted you to feel, as with King George the stage would light from red to blue when he would yell out in anger or when he would go back to being “kind”. Also how the stage moves many different ways, having two stairways that move up and down, along with being pushed around all over the stage gives the actors another way to move with the two level stage and having a platform on the middle of the stage that allows a circle to move in either direction and at different speeds, all having to take perfect placement and timing to do without any injuries. Although the cast works hard they are unable to control how on the stage the shoes the actors wear make a squeaking noise that would be on the off beat of the music so it was more disruptive and noticeable to the audience, but these things are expected when on a touring cast. The show was a major success for the time it was in Boston before heading back out on it’s tour to share it’s story with audiences around the US. Currently Hamilton has two casts traveling around the US telling the hit musical, along with being in spots permanently around the US and London. The hip hop musical is the first of it’s kind and its forging a new path for musical theatre in America.