A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience
By Theresa Ho
It has been seven years since Hamilton’s world premiere in New York rocked the musical theater world with a revolutionary score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway and a diverse cast that reflects America’s complex racial history and identity. I’ll cut to the chase: Lin Manuel-Miranda really is a musical genius, and Hamilton is completely worth the hype.
Every cast member had strong performances in their own right, but some of the most notable performances include Donald Webber Jr. as Aaron Burr and Julius Thomas III as Alexander Hamilton. The two skillfully circle each other on the stage as they vie for more power and attention in the room. Charlotte Mary Wen’s sensitive and eloquent Eliza, who is both amazed and fatigued by her husband’s intelligence and ambition, is a sight to behold. Rick Negron entertains the audience with his sassy yet clearly homicidal presence as King George.
Hamilton’s choreography is a delight in and of itself. Ensemble members almost constantly dance throughout the musical, shifting and transforming alongside America’s developing political climate. At times, dancers slink their way across the stage. At other times, the dancers wildly twirl and move with props in the air as they follow the bass of the songs. Every movement is controlled, tightly coiled, always ready to spring into action.
As a child of Vietnamese immigrants, it was a pleasure to see Black, Latino and Asian leads on the stage that present America as it is: a nation of immigrants. This musical has not only opened doors for non-theater watchers to become interested in Broadway but has also challenged young people to think about U.S. politics and education differently. Hamilton is truly a once-in-a-lifetime multicultural experience unlike anything I have ever seen before.
Hamilton runs at the Denver Center for Performing Arts from February 16 to March 27.