Raise a glass!
There might not be a musical as encompassing and popular to the younger generations as Hamilton. Sure, you still have your contemporaries—Les Misérables, Wicked, Miss Saigon, The Producers—but there is just something about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rap musical that has such a hold on its target audience. Could it be the Disney+ effect?
Whatever the reason, Hamilton in Manila is the hot ticket to have.
Hamilton is a biopic of USA founding father, Alexander Hamilton. His romantic affairs, his marriage, his political inclinations, his enemies and his influence on the US Constitution. It’s about his courage, his intelligence, his “fuck you” attitude. But far from the historical documentaries we’re used to, Hamilton adds that much needed modern spin. The quick verses, the humor, the repetitive beats; they all come together to bring us one of the best experiences of 2023.
We need to talk about the cast; Hamilton has a colorful one (literally).
The characters of Marquis de Lafayette and/or Thomas Jefferson were a breath of fresh air, providing that much needed physical humor to the otherwise dreary subject matters. John Laurens was a surprise; his presence on stage was felt and felt hard. George Washington was—as always, it seems—a favorite; he commanded that stage and his voice echoed in all the right places. King George was King George, funny in a pitiful way.
The Schuyler sisters harmonized like the entire theater’s lives depended on it. Watching Satisfied unfold on stage and hear it live was something else. I thoroughly believe it’s one of the hardest numbers to pull off, and seeing it in person only solidified this belief. And, of course, we must make mention of Rachel Ann Go as Eliza. There’s no denying the girl has talent, and if you needed further proof, here it is: despite the height difference that was so glaring on stage, she was a cut above the rest.
And then there is Alexander Hamilton, of whose life we have to thank for this musical. The actor breezed through the ballads—almost in sacrifice of the faster-paced numbers. I think my cousin said it best; “That’s why he got the job,” she whispered, right after Dear Theodosia. And he kept his calm despite his mic screwing up twice. The show must go on.
And whether or not it was intentional to follow the footsteps of the original cast and have non-white actors play white characters, it was a good call. It just adds that air of “fuck it” that Hamilton is so well known for.
Let’s talk about the logistics, because a play is nothing without them. The stage design and the choreography of Hamilton are right out of a playbook. Despite the small stage, it was used to maximum capacity. Hamilton proves that you don’t need much to tell a story—if it’s a good story. The narratives were clear despite the back and forth in time, despite one conversation happening in one side and a fight occurring in another. Really, it’s a testament to the direction of the play; how the audience’s eyesight is controlled to focus on one aspect and then another.
Look, if you already have your ticket, then great; you deserve an evening of grandeur and talent. And if you’re thinking about watching Hamilton, stop thinking and start looking for an empty seat. You aren’t going to get the same experience as watching it on Disney+ with Lin-Manuel Miranda—and that’s the exact point.
Art Alexandra Lara