HAMILTON Review-The Orlando Times
REVIEW: Don’t ‘Throw Away Your Shot’ To See HAMILTON
(Photos by Joan Marcus)
WRITTEN BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
ORLANDO - HAMILTON opened up to cheers and cries as the diverse main cast and colonial-clad ensemble prepared the audience for the riveting emotional ride in which they were about to embark on.
“America then was told by America now” onstage Wednesday night when the HAMILTON national tour and excited patrons arrived in Orlando at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
A history-making Broadway phenomenon, HAMILTON revolves around the titular Alexander Hamilton, the founding father responsible for the establishment of America’s financial system and the star of the ten dollar bill.
Creator Lin-Manual Miranda marvelously recounts the life of the Caribbean-born immigrant who fought in the American Revolution, worked as a lawyer, became a formidable member of President Washington’s cabinet, and involved himself in scandal only fit for the theater stage.
The utter brilliance that is HAMILTON, is displayed through Miranda’s story-telling and musical skills, both with ballads and rap. Just as his quote from the offset of this article suggests, he tells a historic story through the lens of a modern day society. A winner of won 11 Tonys, a Grammy, and a Pulitzer for creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, HAMILTON certainty lives up to all the hype.
The cast that is performing in Orlando is fantastic. They were able to distinguish themselves from the real-life people they were portraying and the beloved original Broadway cast, despite very high expectations.
In the title role was Joseph Morales. He had big shoes to fill but did a spectacular job of demonstrating the intelligence yet quick-witted nature of Alexander. His acting talents were only overshadowed by his musical ones, he was able to keep up with the fast rhymes in songs such as ‘My Shot’ while being gentle enough for songs like ‘Dear Theodosia’.
One of the standout performers hands-down was Nik Walker, who portrayed rival Aaron Burr. He truly encompassed the internal struggle, desire for prominence, and underlying lack of drive that conflicted the character. In this performance, Burr was just as much the star of the show as Hamilton, the performances of ‘Wait for It’ and ‘The Room Where it Happens’ were evidence of this.
Kyle Scatliffe was an audience favorite as Thomas Jefferson (Act II) and the Marquis de Lafayette (Act I). His rendition of “What Did I Miss?” was a great start back from the intermission and energized the crowd for the twists and turns to come in the second act.
Ta’Rea Campbell and Shoba Narayan gave incredible performances as Hamilton’s sister-in-law, Angelica and Hamilton’s wife, Eliza, respectively. They were great as a unit in “The Shuyler Sisters” but especially shined in their solo numbers. Campell’s skill in fast lyrical delivery and her singing voice shined in ‘Satisfied’ while Narayan’s incredible vocals shined in her emotional rendition of ‘Burn’.
Marcus Choi played a formidable George Washington, Jon Patrick Walker brought comedy in his role as King George, and Nyla Sostre played a lovable Peggy (Act I), and a sultry Maria Reynolds (Act II).
While only main characters during the first half of the play, I loved the comedy and brotherhood brought to the table by Fergie L. Phillipe and Elijah Malcomb who played Hamilton’s friends and war brethren, Hercules Mulligan and John Laurens.
Malcomb also portrayed the Hamiltons’ son Phillip, his storyline ultimately leading to the performance of ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’ which caused some in the audience to well-up with tears, including myself.
While the cast obviously made an impression, those behind the scenes certainly helped the piece come to life. Thomas Kail’s staging and the ensemble’s choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, truly wowed the audience.
The inspiring true story rouses the belief in the American dream, in which it is possible for someone of little means to succeed through their hard work and determination; It emphasizes the importance and effect of real love, both in a platonic and romantic sense; And it calls into question the lengths in which a person will go to leave a legacy and have their story told.
HAMILTON opened on Jan. 22, at the Dr.Phillips Center in Orlando and will continue its run through February 10. While there are few tickets remaining, there is a ticket lottery that is open for the public, where $10 tickets are sold to 40 lucky winners every day. Don’t ‘wait for it’, get more information on tickets by visiting www.drphillipscenter.org