The R&B and hip-hop show tune ballad musical Hamilton is currently touring in LA as of Aug. 11 of this year. The play is performed in the Hollywood Pantages Theatre until Dec. 30. Due to the short four and a half month performance period, many have pounced on the opportunity to see the 11-time-Tony-winning show, including San Gabriel’s own residents. As for the experience of attending, many were in awe of it all, wanting to capture every detail, including the theatre.
“Going to the Pantages was pretty surreal,” junior Max Mora said. “I had never been before so everything was brand new to me. It’s beautiful. There’s all this ornate design and imagery and I couldn’t have had my first live musical experience in a better venue.”
The play itself is about one of America’s more forgotten Founding Fathers, typically only discussed in one chapter or section of a history book and hardly mentioned much after that. Although more behind the scenes, the protagonist, Alexander Hamilton did make a sizable impact in the time it took to establish what is now the United States.
Nevertheless, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the playwright made it clear that the show was not written with the purpose of idolizing the man on the ten dollar bill. This is noticed by how Miranda does not abstain from highlighting his flaws and mistakes. He was an imperfect human being with a strong sense of judgment. No matter how controversial his views, he fought to make a name for himself and his prized land. More importantly, Alexander proved that as an orphan and an immigrant, he was still able to “rise up” and above his station.
“It became verbal ammunition for people willing to speak up… or out,” Mora said. “Minorities wear ‘immigrants, we get the job done’ [a classic line from the play] with pride and have plastered the phrase ‘history has its eyes on you’ all over signs protesting our current president. It’s amazing to see a work of art brought into reality like that.”
The Pulitzer winning play began its course in April 12, 2015, and gained its fame through its diversity in cast, projection of controversy through political and social values as well as maintaining an open-minded perspective of every and all people. The cast has racial-diversity which was at first perceived as strange for predominantly Caucasian characters. It is through differences such as these that had it catch the eye of speculators.
“People who lived here centuries ago have become more relatable because they look like everyday people,” senior Rebekah Carrillo said.
When it comes to empathizing with the play, many would agree that it is Alexander’s own personality traits, which are not snooty and old fashioned as expected.
“His determination and eagerness to succeed, along with his tendency to bite off more than he can chew, are things I definitely relate to,” Mora said. Of course what’s not so relatable are the things like being at the center of the U.S.’s first major political scandal, but I suppose he can’t be ‘too’ relatable.”
Overall however, the characters are elements used to convey a message and a purpose, which are considered heartwarming to some.
“They are all just trying to contribute what they can to make the world better and there are times when they do mess up and that’s normal just like any other human being,” junior Kareena Medina said.
There are a couple differences between the performances given in the Pantages Theater and the one in New York. A major distinction would be the ambience, considering that the play is set in 17-1800s.
“The only apparent differences are the cast and New York patriotism. I’m sure that hearing New York being the greatest city in the world has a lot more impact to a New Yorker than a Los Angeles native,” Mora said.
As mentioned, the cast is not the original as heard in the soundtrack. This surprises some, or most in this case, due to Hamilton being their first official musical, and not knowing the components that come to embody the experience.
“I feel like the musical has brought awareness to musical theater in general and bonds fans in such wonderful ways,” Medina said. “I think that there’s more room to grow but Hamilton is introducing us to new ways of telling stories.”
The tour is scheduled to stay in Los Angeles until Dec. 30, with its next consecutive performance being in the San Diego Civic Theatre on Jan. 6 of the following year. Ticket prices may range from $200 to $2,000, depending on seating. With this in mind, we must not “throw away our shot,” as Hamilton said, and take advantage of the opportunity to watch while we can.