Ever since its Broadway debut, Hamilton, an “American Musical,” has taken Broadway by storm. The lyric smith Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the musical with loyalties to Rob Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton, while incorporating rap and hip hop surprisingly seamlessly.
After two years on Broadway, Hamilton has taken its shot for its first national tour. Of course, a huge transitional stage was necessary, given that majority of the original broadway cast will not be reprising their roles on the national stage. Getting to see such a decorated musical in its warmup stage was nothing short of an honor, as the show allowed for Hamilton’s new talent to find their own voice. Stepping up as the titular character was Michael Luwoye; Solea Pfeiffer took on the role of Eliza Hamilton; Emmy Raver-Lampman, a star long kept as a standby or understudy in hit musicals such as Wicked, finally got to show her skill as Angelica Schuyler; Rory O’Malley, a seasoned broadway veteran with experience in the original Hamilton and The Book of Mormon, reprised his role as King George III, just to name a few of an incredibly talented cast.
In fact, it does not do the company justice to call them just talented. They were athletes in their own right — Hamilton’s fast-paced sung-through story was an exercise for the mind, and while the main cast belted and rapped their way through the musical, the ensemble had to move just as quickly. And while listening to the official soundtrack on Youtube is a fun romp, one would assume that the Hamilton cast is enormous (there are 20 characters, plus ensemble). Surprisingly, several cast members are recycled (in particular, Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, John Laurens/Philip Hamilton, Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds and Philip Schuyler/James Reynolds/Doctor). 14 cast members play 20 named characters. The set was also smaller than expected, but used in a way that gave each scene exactly what it needed.
But since this was a preview run-through, the show had some kinks to work out. With many new cast members, it would not have been outlandish for some actors to experience trouble with any song’s original key. However, there was only one instance of this, and it was during “Say No To This,” a duet between Hamilton (Luwoye) and Reynolds (Amber Iman). Reynolds, a helpless woman suffering from her sordid married life, was known for having an affair with Hamilton, an affair that has gone down as the first recorded sex scandal in American history.
Naturally, the song was supposed to be sultry and, thus, in a deeper octave. While Luwoye maintained his normal key, which happened to complement the song, Iman started the song in a key that sounded uncomfortably deep for her normal register. The song was melodic regardless, despite it being hard to hear Reynold’s lines in the duet.
However, Iman made up for what was lost to the ears in her actions and made her take on Reynolds truly a woman who had been wronged. With this being the only noticeable kink in the show, the warmup for the national tour was incredibly professional and proved that Hamilton lives up to its hype and rightfully deserves its accolades. The national tour kicked off from San Francisco’s SHN Orpheum Theater on April 3 and ran its preview run-throughs in late March.