Review: Hamilton


by Mike Matthaiakis

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” continues to captivate audiences with its bold and inventive exploration of American history. The musical, which sheds the wigs and reimagines the nation’s founding fathers, unfolds as a rollercoaster of revolutionary fervor, led by a largely non-white cast. One of its remarkable achievements is seamlessly combining rap, hip-hop, and R&B to depict the birth of a nation, with Alexander Hamilton, a buccaneering immigrant, at its core.

Miranda’s lyrics are a blend of political passion and nimble wit, portraying Hamilton’s life as a bastard, orphan, and key figure in shaping America. The musical’s perpetual motion mirrors the nation’s restless evolution. The lyrics showcase verbal dexterity, cleverly combining political fervor with humor. The ensemble delivers powerful anthems, and Michael Jibson, portraying George III, injects absurdity into the narrative.

A standout moment is Burr’s “The Room Where It Happens,” a politically complex subject transformed into a captivating number about Burr’s desire to be part of historical deals. Miranda’s deep roots in American musical history shine through, referencing Sondheim’s “Someone in a Tree.”

While the virtuosity of the show can be intense, and the distinction between Jefferson’s agrarian vision and Hamilton’s urban entrepreneurship might feel blurred, the production’s intoxicating speed, historical sweep, and attention to detail are commendable. The performances, particularly Jamael Westman’s authoritative Hamilton and Giles Terera’s envious Burr, contribute to the musical’s energy and variety.

In the end, “Hamilton” transcends as a powerful and original musical that vividly brings the past into the present. It portrays Alexander Hamilton as both an Icarus and an outsider who believed in strong central government and enlightened capitalism. Above all, the musical celebrates America’s indebtedness to immigrants, offering an invigorating experience that resonates in times of national crisis.

Hamilton is at the Victoria Palace Theatre