Music, drama of ”Hamilton” satisfies curiosity in history, craving, quest for entertainment, fun
By Don’Tia Almon | Art Angle Vantage Reporter
Iroquois High School, Class of 2023
For all history buffs and music enthusiasts, PNC Broadway in Louisville’s “Hamilton” last Wednesday left this viewer wanting to be in the room where it happens. Despite its many nods to contemporary culture — such as twerking or even the color-conscious casting that the founding fathers wouldn’t recognize — “Hamilton” adds up to fun. It also does this while extolling history, even for those dragged to the theatre against their will.
Something very interesting is how the cast and ensemble portrayed the bad blood between Hamilton (Pierre Jean Gonzalez) and Burr (Jared Dixon). Different lighting was used to show emotion, one could even hear the tones of the actors change during the face-off in “Your Obedient Servant.” Gonzalez and Dixon’s voices matched each other perfectly and brought such great depth to the characters.
Pierre Jean Gonzalez and company in “Hamilton.” Photo by Joan Marcus. | Courtesy PNC Broadway in Louisville.
Many parents are left suspicious by today’s trends, especially when it keeps kids from their studies. Rap music and suggestive dance moves are usually frowned upon. If music and dance are merged to encourage academia, perhaps parents would be more lenient.
Within “Hamilton,” students can learn about the founding fathers of the nation, America. The audience is introduced to the concept of building a slow burn of a democracy, persuasion, and corruption.
In “History Has Its Eyes on You,” George Washington (Marcus Choi) confides that he led his men into a massacre at a young age. This is a nod to the French and Indian War where Washington caught the attention of future generations from there on until he died. In the second act, he mentions history having its eyes on him and anyone important as he steps down from being president. In “One Last Time,” Washington (Choi) talks about setting precedents in letting go of the power of the presidency which he also did in history.
Throughout the show, Choi gave an extremely heart-wrenching performance. During his solos, the power in his voice reached out and essentially won sympathy for his character. Some might even cry during “One Last Time,” as Choi’s portrayal expanded on the lyrics, illustrating the general’s feelings as he stepped down from his presidency.
Pierre Jean Gonzalez and Marcus Choi in “Hamilton.” Photo by Joan Marcus. | Courtesy PNC Broadway in Louisville.
Another huge point in history was the infamous affair between Hamilton (Gonzalez) and Maria Reynolds (Paige Smallwood) which the production didn’t exaggerate enough. In the history books, James Reynolds, her husband, asked for two large loans and many smaller loans until Alexander and Maria ended their affair. Hamilton did in fact write about his adventures with the married woman to the public as he did in “The Reynolds Pamphlet,” also the subject and title of a song Gonzalez, Dixon, and other cast members sing.
The show is also full of comedy. It has changed a bit from the filmed production on Disney+ — which is probably for the best. In the reprise of “The Story of Tonight,” the choreography to the line “To the newly not poor of us!” changes from suggestive hip swings to the infamous Beyonce “Single Ladies” hand flip. This could be seen as a reach to the younger generations to connect and draw them in.
Not only can the production be an acceptable way to get an intake of America’s history but can be flexible and shaped into a way for the family to have a nice night out.
This specific production even goes to show that despite one mistake, with a good cast, you can move on and have fun. In the beginning, there was a bit of a false start with what seemed to be a miscue after the curtain. (The audience can only assume that there was a problem with the tech or Dixon as Burr just missed his start.) But the cast restarted and made up for it with their amazing vocals and choreography.
“Hamilton” has something for the parents that aren’t interested in the music or even the historical aspect. Moms have the romance between Alexander (Gonzalez), Angelica (Ta’Rea Campbell), Eliza (Stephanie Jae Park), and Maria (Smallwood). Dads have war and action that occurs during the revolutionary period of the musical. Overall, “Hamilton” is a wonderful experience for everyone no matter age or interests, audiences should be truly satisfied with the show.
Don’Tia Almon, a junior at Iroquois High School, leads the Harry Potter Club and has classes including cinematography, guitar, and A2C English. They founded a school-based group where lowerclassmen can get academic assistance and process their feelings and fears. They also participated in Arts Angle Vantage to review "Mean Girls."