Guest Review: HAMILTON at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, NYC

If you haven't ever heard of Hamilton then I am seriously questioning where you have been for the past year or so. Currently only playing on Broadway, Hamilton is undeniably one of the biggest musicals of the past decade, and it's yet to have even run a year in New York. On Sunday night, the show picked up 11 Tony Awards in one of the most memorable awards ceremonies to date.

The show's wins included Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book and Best Director and before that managed to become the most Tony-nominated show in history with 16 nominations, beating out the previous record held by Billy Elliot and The Producers of 15. The show won a Grammy this year, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the show's cast album currently sits at number one on the album chart on iTunes in the United States. All of this hype got me wondering though: is it worth it? To find out the answer, I took it upon myself to find out from someone who has seen the show on Broadway for themselves: enter Molly Boatman...

Before Molly speaks, I thought I'd fill you all in on the story of Hamilton. In the UK, we learn so little about American history at school that I had honestly never heard of Alexander Hamilton until the musical came about. The story of the show is based on the biography by Ron Chernow and follows the life and times of the foundling father of the United States and chief aide to George Washington, Alexander Hamilton. He meets Aaron Burr, sets up three revolutionists and meets the Schuyler Sisters in New York City. King George III offers help and love, there's a love triangle between Hamilton and Angelica and Eliza Schuyler, and Aaron Burr kills Hamilton (which I am told isn't a spoiler, because it's mentioned in the opening number of the show!). For a story that - to me - sounds rather complex, I thought I'd hear about what makes this show so enthralling to watch from Molly herself.

Tony Award-winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, along with Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones and the company

Before I saw the show, I was excited and nervous. But after, I was sad because the show was over and because Hamilton of course dies in the story. To get our tickets to the show, we had to get them second hand - I think through StubHub - and pay the outrageous price. I don't think I would describe the show as necessarily revolutionary, but I do believe that Lin's style will catch on very quickly. It is so interesting and successful, and the way they are taking the information outside the theater with EDU HAM is really amazing.

My interest for the show was pretty natural: my sister is studying history and so of course she was interested in Hamilton right away. At first, I thought the idea of a musical all about history was lame, but as soon as I heard the soundtrack I was captivated. The show exceeded my expectations; seeing the songs come to life on stage really brought everything together for me.

The set looked like a wooden scaffolding of sorts, with a turntable center stage. It was really interesting to watch, but if you sit anywhere besides row J and up in the orchestra then you couldn't fully appreciate it because you couldn't see parts of it. For example, if you're in the rear mezzanine, you don't get to see the set 'grow' during intermission - the turntable was really amazing though. During the song "Satisfied" when it goes into the section where they begin singing "rewind...", they literally rewind by using the turntable and go back up to the wedding scene that happened before. That really brought it together for that song in my opinion.

The Richard Rodgers Theatre, where Hamilton is currently playing on Broadway.

The cast of the show were absolutely amazing. I feel very blessed to have seen Lin-Manuel Miranda perform before he steps down from the role next month. I don't think any actor among the rest of the cast stood out amongst them, either. 

While the show was five stars for me, the Richard Rodgers Theatre is a bit sub par. The theater was just way too small for the production. The theater was hot outside of the main seating section, the merchandise lines took about 20 minutes to get through, the ushers in the theatre were very rude and not helpful with finding seats and the seats were very small: my knees were almost touching the seat in front! And if someone needed to get up then the whole row had to move so they could squeeze out. I set all that aside and focused on the show though; it made it a little uncomfortable but I don't think it took away from the production, it just caused some stress.

The one major thing I would warn people against though is the line of people waiting outside the stage door for autographs. I unfortunately had a very bad experience with one man who was incredibly rude and continued to push, shove, step and bully me until my father showed up. So if you're wanting to get autographs from the actors, I would suggest having someone with you and understand that most of the people there in the line are people who didn't even go and see the show that night - they start lining up outside the stage door before the show even starts, so just be patient and careful.

Other than that, the show was incredible and I cannot recommend it enough!

Hamilton starts performances at London's Victoria Palace Theatre in October 2017. You can sign up for priority booking right now on the official UK website.

Thank you to Molly Boatman for taking part in this guest review! You can follow Molly over on Twitter @molly1996marie.

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