Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Hamilton
National Tour
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's reviews of Camelot, The Legend of Georgia McBride and Botticelli in the Fire


The Cast
Photo by Joan Marcus
Washington area audiences have waited two years for Hamilton to arrive, and the first-rate touring production spending the summer in the Kennedy Center Opera House proves that the wait was worth it.

An unlikely success is the word for Lin-Manuel Miranda's audacious musical, a popular favorite that also won both the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A retelling of the life of Alexander Hamilton—Caribbean immigrant, aide to George Washington during the American Revolution, first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, political theorist, sometimes too honest for his own good—with an ethnically diverse cast and hip-hop underpinnings? Yes, and it really does live up to the hype. Debates about financial policy and military strategy have never been so engaging.

People who know the score from the original cast recording may need a short time to get used to the different singing voices in this cast. Stay with it.

To begin with, the tour Hamilton, Austin Scott, has the laser focus and necessary self-possession for the role while also being a better singer than Miranda, who is more of a rapper who can carry a tune. This difference allows the melodies to stand out more, adding to the sense of discovery in this production.

Nicholas Christopher is an admirable foil to Scott as Aaron Burr, hiding behind a slick façade in public while privately fuming about his lack of access to "the room where it happens." He has as much pride in his abilities as Hamilton but much more to lose, making his circumspection understandable.

Julia K. Harriman is lovely and heartbreaking as Eliza Hamilton, Sabrina Sloan is a glittering Angelica Schuyler, and they play off each other beautifully, most notably in their separate memories of their first meeting with Hamilton.

Other standout performers in the large ensemble cast include Bryson Bruce, who swaggers amusingly and seizes the audience's attention in the double role of the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson; Rubén J. Carbajal, with achingly tender performances as Hamilton's friend John Laurens and Hamilton's son Philip; and Peter Matthew Smith in the can't miss role of King George.

The physical production does not seem scaled down from Broadway: David Korins' scenic design is as expansive as ever, Thomas Kail's direction remains sharply focused, and Andy Blankenbuehler's choreography retains its percussive impact.

Kennedy Center
Hamilton
June 12th - September 16th, 2018
Book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Alexander Hamilton: Austin Scott
Eliza Hamilton: Julia K. Harriman
Aaron Burr: Nicholas Christopher
Angelica Schuyler: Sabrina Sloan
George Washington: Carvens Lissaint
Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson: Bryson Bruce
Hercules Mulligan/James Madison: Chaundre Hall-Broomfield
John Laurens/Philip Hamilton: Rubén J. Carbajal
Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds: Isa Briones
King George: Peter Matthew Smith
Philip Schuyler/James Reynolds/Doctor: Alexander Ferguson
Samuel Seabury: Andrew Wojtal
Charles Lee: Robbie Nicholson
George Eacker: Raymond Baynard
Ensemble: Raymond Baynard, Dan Belnavis, Natalie Kaye Clater, Jeffery Duffy, Alexander Ferguson, Jennifer Geller, Francesca Granell, Jennifer Locke, Robbie Nicholson, Raven Thomas, Andrew Wojtal
Choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler
Directed by Thomas Kail
Opera House, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F St. NW, Washington, DC
Ticket Information: (800) 444-1324 or (202) 467-4600 or www.kennedy-center.org
For more information on the tour, visit hamiltonmusical.com/us-tour


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