See History Like Never Before With "Hamilton" At The Fox Theatre April 3 - 22

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The national tour of "Hamilton"  plays the Fabulous fox Theater April 3 -- 22.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis is host to the national tour of Hamilton, April 3 – 22, 2018. It’s easily the most anticipated show to hit our town’s venerated stage since perhaps the first tour of The Lion King. Over the last few weeks, theatre-minded friends have been talking about the show nonstop. Some have seen it on Broadway. Others have made road trips to catch the tour at stops prior to St. Louis. Many have memorized the cast recording and added hundreds of hits to various YouTube clips. It wasn’t until the night before the performance I was slated to see that I started to get a little apprehensive. The hype for Hamilton has been ridiculously high. How could it possibly live up to the hype?

Hey DJ, gimme a beat…

Hamilton was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was inspired by Ron Chernow’s book about one of the founders of America.

But this ain’t quite like whatcha heard in school, so ya better be prepared or you’ll look like a fool.

You see this is the birth of our nation without regard to race, so these here Founding Fathers might look a little out of place.

They’re rocking the right gear--frilly collars, frogger pants—but I don’t think Tommy Jefferson ever knew that dance.

 

The show began with Hamilton as an immigrant orphan, poor and sick. By the end of the opening song he’s a man--classic theatre trick!

I hear you sayin’, “Yo! Don’t be givin’ me no spoilers, Mr. Media!” My friends you needn’t worry—this is all on Wikipedia.

But I dig, you want surprises, so I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll skip the plot for now—it’s not important till Act Two.  

For now I’ll speak of actors, music, lighting, and set, and you’ll soon see where I’m coming from (Louisiana Purchase represent!)

 

The title role is played by crazy talented Austin Scott, who has Miranda’s shoes to fill and gives it all he’s got.

Nicholas Christopher as Aaron Burr, both friend and foe alike, captured my attention and was dandy on the mic.

Julia K. Harriman is Eliza, Hamilton’s wife, who sings like a songbird despite their marital strife.

Carvens Lissaint as General Washington is tall, commanding, delivering honesty with every word.

Peter Matthew Smith played old King George the Third as more of a court jester—the royal turd.

Chris De’Sean Lee as Thomas Jefferson may seem too short to play the part, but he gets the biggest laughs like comedy giant Kevin Hart.

 

Act One just didn’t grab me, I’m sad to admit, but understanding who was who took me a little bit.

I’ve seen different faces on my currency all these many years, but it was the lack of action that began to grind my gears.

Most songs the actors only moved to avoid the dancers as they twirled, but I didn’t get the sense of what was going on in this brave New World.

As Mr. A-Dot Hamilton started an intricate relationship with Mr. A-Dot Burr, the Revolution came and went and they both got themselves a girl.

But this all felt like Frozen, actors locked in place and time, too much tell and too little show while our new nation’s leaders rocked a rhyme.

Sung-through musicals, I’ve got to say, have never been my bag--so much singing, too little acting; I feared this night would drag.     

 

Act Two seemed to break the cycle, and I’m about to tell you why, before Hamilton and Bur faceoff and let their bullets fly.

Whereas before the show felt like a rapid-fire tribute to hip-hop stars like Eminem and Biggie, the actors finally get more time to act and less for getting jiggy.

Character flaws come to the fore, lust and greed and power—key ingredient to raise the tension for the riveting final hour.

Turning Congressional debates into rap battles like Eminem’s 8 Mile? If our legislature really worked like this I’d switch the Cardinals to C-SPAN for a while.

The wall of rap breaks into R&B, softer songs for tragic actions--a decision perfectly justified by the audience’s reactions.

Yeah, I know, I didn’t get it first, this history so unusual, but I was fully vested by the great climactic duel.

 

Orchestrator Alex Lacamoire, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and director Thomas Kail, lead this dynamic cast and crew in a show quite literally beyond the pale.

Scenic designer David Korins also deserves a special mention for his minimalist approach and outstanding achievement with a lazy susan!

While I still believe the first half of Hamilton feels like a more urban Schoolhouse Rock!, the second act suits me just fine—there’s nothing I can knock.

The question I still ponder, as I put my thoughts in type, is the only one I’ve asked: “Did it live up to the hype?”

 

There’s no single answer to that; it’s different for everyone. I was kinda bored at first but it wound up being hella fun!

This ain’t your Daddy’s politics--check preconceived notions at the door. And don’t forget the Hamilton app—you could win tickets on the floor!

If history was taught like this how much more would we have learned? I must say, despite the hype, these accolades are earned.

And when Hamilton must depart I’ll set Nixon spinning in his grave, for I hope Miranda’s next project is Watergate featuring Humpty Hump and Flava Flav!

 

Peace.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0