By: Rachel Hawkins, NDG Staff Writer
It’s sassy, it’s a head-bobber, it’s historically inspired, it’s Hamilton!
This cultural phenomenon of a Broadway musical takes what we know about history and gives it an authentic flair and a one of a kind experience. Hamilton the musical will run until May 5, at Music Hall at Fair Park, in Dallas. Since starting in 2015, it seems the hype has been followed all the way to Dallas, four years later.
Hamilton, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton, follows the rise and fall of one of America’s Founding Fathers.
The musical begins in 1776 in New York when Hamilton, played by Joseph Morales, meets Aaron Burr played Nik Walker, John Laurens played Eean S. Cochran, Marquis de Lafayette played by Kyle Scatliffe, and Hercules Mulligan played by King David Jones during “My Shot.”
Hamilton then becomes George Washington’s aide-de-camp during “right-hand man,” meets Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy (“The Schuyler Sisters”) and marries Eliza Schuyler, played by Emily Jenda (“Helpless”). The rest of the musical follows Hamilton’s experience in the United States as the young nation wins its independence, and Hamilton is selected as the first Secretary of the Treasury.
What makes this retelling of Hamilton so unique is the choice of non-white characters. As you look upon the sea of black and brown faces, you start to realize Lin-Manuel Miranda purposely did this to reflect the type of society we live in. While it may not be entirely historically accurate, it is culturally precise as a reflection of a 21st century nation built by immigrants.
Even down to one of the lines Hamilton shouts in the middle of a song sequence, “Immigrants, we get the job done,” it is evident everything in this musical is done with meaning.
This is especially displayed in the music. The songs are either rapped, sung or talked through in hip-hop, R&B, or pop style. There are 34 original songs in the musical, some of the audience favorites being “My Shot,” “The Schuyler Sisters,” “You’ll Be Back,” “Satisfied,” “That Would Be Enough,” “The Room Where It Happens,” and “It’s Quiet Uptown.”
You can definitely tell the sound design, orchestra arrangement, music coordinators, did a fantastic job to keep the musical choices upbeat and exciting throughout the entire production.
But it is not just the musical choices which make the musical unique. The set design and lighting designing provide a significant impact on how the audience experiences the show. While the background does stay the same in the show, the lighting and set pieces does a fantastic job of transporting the audience back in time.
Before the show, audience members will also have the opportunity to check out a historical collection in collaboration with the Dallas Public Library, and Seth Kaller Inc. This collection holds documents from the Revolution War and Founding Era.
These documents include one of Hamilton’s most revealing love letters to Elizabeth Schuyler. A first edition of the “Reynolds Pamphlet”, which survived Eliza’s attempt to have them all burned, Hamilton’s critical financial papers, and draft letters rallying to defeat Jefferson at all cost after Washington declined to run for a third term, Orginal letters and documents of Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson, Burr, and more. Also featured are Hamilton Jr’s annotated copy of the Federalist Papers.
This unique collection will be on display, in the lobby of the Music Hall free of charge until May 5.
So if you want to be in the room where it happens, it’s highly suggested you check out Hamilton while it’s in Dallas.