Happy New Year everyone!
I thought I’d write my first blog post of the year about one of my favourite things of this winter period: Hamilton!
Hamilton is a musical about one of America’s founding fathers- the one on the ten-dollar bill! It tells of his rise to success through the war of independence to his ultimate demise, following both his political and personal life.
I first started listening to it over a year and a half ago and was instantly gripped. So much so that this came up in my Spotify summary of 2016- top 1% of fans! Now that’s a LOT of listening!
You can imagine how excited I was when it was announced that the musical would transfer from Broadway to the West End. I signed up to the presale and the day the tickets were released I was ready and waiting, and was lucky enough to get tickets for the 9th of December- the third official performance (which would then become a preview due to the schedule being moved back).
I went with my dad and my sister, after a morning of lectures (which I was very distracted in). I got on the train to London Euston to meet them at Victoria. A year and a half of anticipation meant that when the lights went down I got a little teary because I couldn’t quite believe I was finally there!
I was worried that after listening to the original Broadway cast for so long, the London cast wouldn’t match up. I was wrong. Whilst writing this I was trying to think of standouts to mention to avoid this post being too long but honestly the entire cast were incredible. But I must mention:
- Jamael Westman as Hamilton, was, of course, amazing. I never thought anyone could come close to Lin (the original Hamilton) but he did a fantastic job. AND he’s only just out of drama school.
- Obioma Ugoala as Washington commanded the stage every time he sang. Such a powerful voice for an awe-inspiring character.
- Christine Allado played Peggy Schuyler, but it was as Maria Reynolds that she really shone. Her voice is honestly one of the most beautiful that I have ever heard sing live in my life.
- Cleve September as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton played two very loveable characters, and once you get over the fact that an adult man is supposed to be nine years old, his performance and that of Rachelle Ann Go (Philip’s mother Eliza) brought me to floods of tears.
- Michael Jibson as King George. For a character that’s only on stage for about ten minutes of the whole show, he almost steals it.
Then, on Christmas morning I was opening my presents and my Dad surprised my sister and I with tickets to see it again on New Years’ Day! We both knew our mum and brother were going on that day but he’d bought five tickets instead of two- he’d kept that secret from us for almost an entire year! On that trip, I got to see the alternate Hamilton and understudy Burr. Ash Hunter as Hamilton was different to Jamael but in a great way, when he was rapping he’d often put emphasis on different words and change the rhythm up which worked really well.
For both performances, we were in the grand circle. I have sat in quite a few theatres in the top circle and the Victoria Palace is one of my favourites. The view was still so incredible! I also like sitting higher up because you can really appreciate the musical as a whole piece- the choreography, lighting and staging is so stunning and so detailed that I think I’ll need to go ten times more before I can fully appreciate every little thing about this show.
Finally, in a time such as ours, with the political climate the way it is, going to the theatre to watch a piece of art about an immigrant that helped found America, and hearing an audience cheer for the line “immigrants: we get the job done” fills my heart with hope and joy.
If you can get tickets: go.
Until next time,