“Hamilton” comes to Orlando

The Broadway phenomenon “HAMILTON” finally hit Orlando this week at the Dr. Philips Center for the Performing Arts for a three week run through to 10th February.

The winner of Tony awards for Best Musical and Best Original Score, as well as a host of other honors, came to town with a lot of hype and expectation as audiences lapped up tickets in a fashion rarely seen in Central Florida. So, did the show live up to expectations?

The first thing to be said is that this is a very good production but you can’t help but feel that it has been tailored specifically to exploit the passion Americans have for their own history. The show has been called “life changing” by some, but the reality is that the show is somewhat over-hyped.

American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is the subject of the musical with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The show incorporates elements of hip hop, R&B, pop, soul, traditional-style show tunes, and color-conscious casting of non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures.

The musical made its Off-Broadway debut at The Public Theater in New York in February 2015 and is now on its third US tour.

The play has two acts, telling Hamilton’s story through major events. It tells of Hamilton’s life from beginning to end along with various other historical characters such as Marquis De Lafayette, Aaron Burr, John Laurens, Hercules Mulligan and former presidents George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.

For many historians the production takes several liberties as it plays up Hamilton’s role in history while downplaying the role of others such as Burr, who was actually no less passionate about the Revolution than the lead.

Overall, the production is clever and extremely well done. Is it the best ever show to grace Orlando? No. But, it is fascinating in its own way and has some great elements such as an excellent set design (David Korins), some superb costumes (Paul Tazewell) and some of the best lighting (Howell Binkley) you will ever see. The acting is top class and while anyone digging deeper may find the flaws in the script if they are concerned about the historical accuracy of the play, the show lives up to its billing in many ways. The problem is, getting a ticket to see it. Good luck!



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