On the evening of March 15, I finally got a chance to see the Chicago production of Hamilton. It was everything that I hoped that it would be, but of course, there is much more to say about this extraordinary production. So, I aim to say it here and now.
- The production closely follows the soundtrack, and if you get the soundtrack (it’s quite easy; I got it through Apple Music and Amazon Music), you will be very happy indeed. But of course, nothing beats seeing the production itself, with the facial expressions of the actors and actresses, the superb choreography, the excellent set design, and the communal experience of enjoying one of the greatest musicals ever written with an audience that is positively giddy and overjoyed as a result of having the privilege and opportunity to witness this truly marvelous work. I know that it is really hard to get tickets to Hamilton. But you truly owe it to yourself to do whatever must be done to get tickets to Hamilton. You won’t regret your labors, however laborious they may be.
- I know that Wayne Brady is known to many for his improvisational work on Whose Line Is It Anyway?. But he plays the part of Aaron Burr with gravitas and appropriate humor as well. A very good cast choice. Because Burr is tasked with the responsibility to narrate the story, the actor who plays the role has to be up for a significant challenge; in many ways, Burr is the main character of the story, notwithstanding the musical’s title. Brady was and is more than up for the task.
- Alexander Gemignani was a delightful King George, and stole the show multiple times.
- “Immigrants: We get the job done.” I was overjoyed when the line got applause from the audience, and I could not help but think of my parents when I heard it. They left a life they knew in Iran to give their children better lives in America, and in doing so, they made this country stronger and–yes–greater; far greater than any Cheeto Caligula can ever imagine or appreciate, let alone emulate.
- “Dear Theodosia” got sniffles and tears from the audience. The sniffles grew louder and the tears flowed even more palpably and unashamedly when we got to “It’s Quiet Uptown.” This is the strength of Hamilton; it can be funny, then poignant, then profound, then philosophical, and then utterly devastating and heartbreaking. It appeals to an amazing range of human emotions, and it does so in the most genuine and authentic of ways.
- Want to hear a battle rap between the secretaries of state and treasury? Well then, Hamilton is the musical for you.
- Of course, one cannot watch Hamilton without thinking of current events, and I can’t help but think of how world events transpired while I was in the PrivateBank Theatre. Donald Trump’s latest Muslim ban has been blocked, showing that despite the depredations of the president of the United States, the rule of law remains alive and well in this country. Naturally, this ruling evoked a typically ignorant comment from Trump, but people who–unlike our president–possess brains and consciences rightly celebrated this latest rejection of Trumpian bigotry. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, Trumpian/Bannonesque populism and racism was similarly rejected by Dutch voters in an emphatic and welcome development. There remains a lot more to do in order to defeat the forces of insanity that threaten to wreak utter havoc in both America and Europe. But a significant step was taken on the night of March 15 to restore reason and enlightenment on both sides of the Atlantic, and in this country, to ensure that the timeless values the founders of America suffered, fought and died for shall survive the current misguided and deranged administration. Donald Trump may think that Hamilton is “highly overrated,” but given the fact that Donald Trump doesn’t understand the first thing about Making America Great Again, I guess that should come as no surprise. The rest of us see what Trump does not, and the rest of us can and should work to save this nation from its president.
I’d like to think that I have something wonderful and profound to say about the latest encouraging developments around the world. But I’d rather give the microphone to Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose sentiments are mine as well: “And when our children tell our story/They’ll tell the story of tonight.”
May it be ever so.