Having been released on Disney Plus for the first time, I decided to see how this historic musical plays out.
The choreography, music, costuming, sets, and cast were all top-notch and fantastic. I particularly liked the actors’ performances of Eliza Hamilton, King George, Andrew Jackson, Aron Burr, and George Washington. The lighting was incredible here and there wasn’t a hint of lens glare. The actors and orchestra worked in a synchronic tandem with verse and music that I haven’t seen before. The choreography was creative and worked well with the multiple background levels and the finale makes excellent use of the rotating stage.
I’m not really a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda in this though. He seemed miscast and a little out of his league. There were small parts that I felt he was getting really good, and his vocal performance seemed to be better in Act 2.
As someone who isn’t really a fan of the music stylings presented here, the music blended together for me and it was difficult to tell where one song began and another ended. There wasn’t much room to breathe here, and the story suffered for this, constantly throwing information at the audience, expecting them to keep up. There was constant repetition of sung lines, and while they are repeated, they do not add anything to the story and bloat the play.
This is a work that may require multiple viewings to keep up with, in order to understand the characters and their relationships to each other. Characters and concepts are introduced in numbers, and being expected to remember them all is no easy feat.
Something I must mention here is how race is handled in the musical: it’s a non-issue. Characters are defined by their actions and beliefs here instead of the color of their skin. It’s a daring take that pulls it off with literally no problems. It’s expert casting that goes for ability rather than historic accuracy.
While I am glad that I finally saw this, I feel somewhat let down by it. With a stronger lead, a tighter story that let in just a little more silence for reflection, and a more varied style of music and speech, this could have been a smash hit for me. After all of the hype about this play leading up to this, I walked away puzzled, but wanting to give it another shot sometime soon.
My rating for “Hamilton” is 8/10.