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Hamilton // An American Musical in London

Hello fellow bookworms! I was extremely lucky in January 2017 to get tickets to the one of the greatest musical of our generation! Yesterday, the day had finally arrived for my sister and me to journey up to London to see Hamilton! Leading up to the day, having had the tickets for almost a year, it still unbelievable that we were actually going. It wasn’t until we were outside the theatre that it really hit me that we were seeing it in a few hours! It was one of the best musical experiences of my life, and I wanted to share everything I loved about it with you (with minimal spoilers, of course)!

Listening to the recording vs. Seeing the musical

I’ve been a massive fan of Hamilton for a while now, and until yesterday, I only had the soundtrack to tell the story. In case you’re not that familiar with Hamilton, it is an all-music musical, which means there’s no scripted speech in between. This meant that I could get a pretty good grasp of the story without having seen it live. That said, going to see it, and having that soundtrack you know so well come to life, you really can’t compare it with any other feeling. All those times you wish you knew what that scene looked like, and now you can listen and visualise to your hearts content! The only real difference was the recording is Original Broadway cast, and we saw the Original West End cast. It was great to see how they kept it so close to the original songs, but still out their own spin on things!

The Actors and their Characters

Alexander Hamilton

We were lucky enough to see Jamael Westman as Hamilton, and I couldn’t find fault with his performance! He was on par with Lin-Manuel Miranda as the lead character, and it was such a pleasure to see someone take on this massive role, step into Lin’s shoes, and do a phenomenal job! (Also he was super tall so he towered above everyone else in the cast!)

Aaron Burr

Pardon me, are you Aaron Burr, sir? We saw Sifiso Mazibuko, principle standby for Aaron Burr, and he was amazing! The power in his voice was incredible, and Wait For It, which is one of my favourites in the musical, was great. There was so much emotion in his character, and Dear Theodosia broke me as well!

John Laurens/Philip Hamilton

What can I say apart from the fact that Cleve September’s voice is incredible! It certainly belongs on stage, and he played Philip very, very well, I cried a lot in Stay Alive (Reprise)!

Lafayette/Jefferson

Jason Pennycooke was hilarious! Lafayette is such a character, and man, he can rap! I knew is would be difficult to follow in Daveed Diggs footsteps, and Pennycooke didn’t disappoint. His role as Jefferson was played just as well, Jefferson has a massive personality, and he really made the character his own, which made it special and unique for the audience as well!

Hercules Mulligan/James Madison

Wow, what a voice! Mulligan always had to have a powerful voice, and Tarinn Callender was made for this role! The visual representation of Madison was different to what I expected, but his relationship with Jefferson was great, and will change the way I listen to his character sing in a good way.

George Washington

Another extremely powerful voice, he really belted out every word! One Last Time was a lot more emotional than I thought it would be, and Right Hand Man was brilliant with the entire cast! Obioma Ugoala stepped up to the challenge of President and most certainly achieved the goal!

King George

Oh my gosh! King George has so much characterisation that the person playing can’t be afraid to make the songs their own! The best thing about Johnathon Groff on the recording is he is an American singing with a British accent, which made almost more accented and pronounced, and really funny. Michael Jibson did just that! He put a unique twist on all of King George’s songs, and the facial expression and little movements along with it absolutely made his role what it was! I couldn’t wait for him to reappear on stage each time, and he even appeared in a few songs towards the end in the background, which added a but of comedy to the performance! A magnificent performance! (He also singled out my sister and pointed at her at one point, my sister went mad!)

Eliza Hamilton

Rachelle Ann Go was such a great choice for Eliza! There was so much emotion behind everything she sung, which is definitely needed in a role like this. Burn was exceptional, and the Finale really got to me as well! Very well cast, brilliant vocals and acting!

Angelica Schuyler

Angelica needs both a sweet, musical voice, and a quick, witty voice. Rachel John delivered both! I was surprised how soft her voice was at times, but she really put power behind it when it was needed! Again, a lot of emotion, especially in It’s Quiet Uptown!

Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds

Even though Peggy is seen as a slightly smaller role, it was amazing to see it characterised, especially at the beginning of the Schuyler sisters! What was really special about Christine Allado’s performance was when she took on the role of Maria Reynolds. Say No To This is a pivotal song in the musical, detailing Hamilton’s cheating on Eliza, and this is the song that really showed off her voice! There are some very long, sustained and powerful notes in this song, and Allado definitely delivered!

The Ensemble

A lot of the time, you focus on where the action is, the main characters singing and doing whatever. However, the ensemble are so important in Hamilton, and I spent a lot of time actually watching them instead of what was going on! They are what really make the visualisation of the soundtrack real, and to be able to hold harmonies in the big group numbers was insane! The choreography was absolutely fantastic, I couldn’t fault a single one of them, they were always in character and always in perfect synchronisation when they had to be! I always wanted to play a main role when I did musical productions, but I would happily be in the ensemble of Hamilton over any main role, just for that choreography!

Summary

Overall, Hamilton makes my top 3 musicals of all time (it was up there before seeing it, but it just superglued it’s place)! I couldn’t fault it at all. It made me feel all of the emotions, it made me so happy, it made me laugh, it made me hysterically sob (pretty much from Burn onwards), but I cannot recommend seeing it enough (if you can get hold of tickets!), and I really can’t put into words how magnificent it is! If you have tickets to see it already, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (just take plenty of tissues, you’ll need them!)

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

By bookmuffin

I like books and tea. MA Children's Literature student.

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