Hamilton at the Dr.Phillips Center in Orlando: Review

Jasmeen Rivera, Reporter

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Hamilton: An American Musical, the popular song and rap musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda on the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, made its debut in Orlando at the Dr.Phillips Center January 22nd. The hit show took Broadway by storm in 2015 in New York and has spread like wildfire since. I was given the opportunity to experience Hamilton Thursday night on their U.S Tour and all of it’s historical-glory. The expectations were high for such a hyped and discussed event. As I watched and observed from start to finish, all I can say is… it’s everything you could ever imagine and more.

The presence on stage from every actor and actress of the main cast, or ensemble, brought a different kind of life to an already outstanding performance. From every song to every dance move, crafted and executed perfectly. I had planned on quietly mouthing the lyrics to the variety of tracks as the show went on, but how could I, when I was so enraptured and mesmerized by such a production the only thing I could let my jaw do was drop? I was extremely impressed with the amount of unique and bold strokes that were taken by the cast; however, actor Joseph Morales, who plays our adored Alexander Hamilton, was…disappointing. The authority that comes with being such a historical figure was lost through all of Morales’ questionable lines; every sentence sung sounding as if he is doubting Hamilton’s words. What was supposed to be a character of confidence and passion, was timid–decent at best. Was it bad? No. Could he have been better? Most definitely. People who aren’t very familiar with the quality of Hamilton’s audio tracks would never know the difference, but any hardcore fan would know in an instant.

On the other hand, a dear round-of-applause could be given to actor Nik Walker, who not only exceeded my expectations of a daring, creative Aaron Burr, but took the character to the next level; truly showing us how history will openly paint you in all of your mistakes, making him the “villain in our history.” Not to mention our breathtaking Schulyer Sisters, living up to their reputation as strong, independent women of tales as old as time. Ta’rea Campbell, playing the eldest sister Angelica Schuyler, can be seen hitting notes that you didn’t know existed, while her co-star, Shoba Narayan, playing Eliza Schuyler, is more than likely one of the best versions of this character since Phillipa Soo, the very first Eliza in the original cast. Though Peggy Schuyler isn’t seen much in Act 2, Tia Altinay brought the sarcastic sense of humor to the youngest sister; however, her role of Maria Reynolds was shy of her full potential.

You could also appreciate the work of Hamilton’s “gang,” Marquis de Lafayette (Kyle Scatliffe *dual rolling as Thomas Jefferson*), John Laurence (Elijah Malcomb *dual rolling as Phillip Hamilton*), and Hercules Mulligan (Fergie L. Phillipe *dual rolling as James Madison.) All three characters bringing the fun to a very intimate production, showing the importance of friendship and brotherhood. In addition to being the general of the famous “Battle of Yorktown” scene, Marcus Choi gave a very moving performance of George Washington; though more intimate eye contact and movement was needed with the audience, he was respected nevertheless.

And precious King George played by Jon Patrick Walker, nothing short of the most hilarious breakup songs between Britain and America that I could have ever imagined that I feel only Walker could have reenacted in such a way. Long live the King!

Tech and set wise: I didn’t have many expectations for the cast to go through numerous scenes with just one, real set; however, I will have to admit, they pulled it off. The transitions between each scene were so smooth, you wouldn’t have noticed that the space never changed. While we could go on all day about scene changes, the real credits goes to the execution of lights presented throughout the show. Creating a space that added real emotions and brought vivid representation of how a professional show should always run, tech set the bar high and it won’t be coming down any time soon.

Ticket prices for the Dr.Phillip Center and Richard Rodgers Theater in New York compared is a huge price gap. The most a ticket can cost here in Orlando will be around $500, while in New York, tickets can cost around $1000 at the most, almost twice as much. If after this review, you wish to go see this iconic musical, I’m sorry to say that tickets are all sold out until the end of production in Orlando, February 10th.

Overall, an amazing performance to a life long dream. Anybody who hasn’t seen the musical is missing out on an amazing experience.

And if anybody is wondering: yes, I did cry.