Hamilton OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • HR

  • VULTURE

  • TM

Opening Night:
February 17, 2015
Closing:
May 3, 2015

Theater: Public Theater / Delacorte Theater in Central Park, New York, NY,

Synopsis: 

Lin-Manuel Miranda takes the stage as the unlikely founding father determined to make his mark on the new nation as hungry and ambitious as he is. From bastard orphan to Washington's right hand man, rebel to war hero, a loving husband caught in the country's first sex scandal, to the Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy. George Washington, Eliza Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Hamilton's lifelong friend/foil Aaron Burr all make their mark in this astonishing new musical exploration of a political mastermind.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Hamilton

    In ‘Hamilton,’ Lin-Manuel Miranda Forges Democracy Through Rap

    Ben Brantley

    February 17, 2015: They’re brewing up a revolution down on Lafayette Street. And even theater reactionaries seem destined to be swept up in its doubt-defying ardor. Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s independent-minded new musical for the masses at the Public Theater, shot open like a streamlined cannon ball on Tuesday night. When one of the young rebels who populate this vibrant work says, “History is happening in Manhattan,” you can only nod in happy agreement. “Happening” qualifies as both an adjective and a verb in this instance. Adapted from Ron Chernow’s 2004 doorstop biography of Alexander Hamilton — “the 10-dollar founding father without a father,” as the show’s lyrics put it — this speeding bio-musical has become the most fashionable (and unobtainable) ticket in town. More important, Hamilton, which is directed with vigor and finesse by Thomas Kail and features the multifarious Mr. Miranda in the title role, persuasively transfers a thoroughly archived past into an unconditional present tense. Written and composed by Mr. Miranda, this work may reap the pattern-bestowing benefits of two centuries of hindsight. Yet it exudes the dizzying urgency of being caught up in momentous events as they occur. How Hamilton achieves this then-is-now effect could itself be said to qualify as historic, at least on the progress-challenged continuum of the American musical. In telling the story of Hamilton — and confreres that include George Washington, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson — via rap and R&B ballads, this sung-through production sounds a lot like what you’d hear if you turned the radio to a mainstream pop station.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Hamilton

    Hamilton: Theater review by David Cote

    David Cote

    February 17, 2015: History ticks to a syncopated beat in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s jubilant, overflowingly rich Hamilton. And just as syncopation achieves its energizing effect by disturbing the expected flow, so Miranda’s biomusical on founding father Alexander Hamilton is a rhythm-and-rhyme intervention for American iconography and ideology. This populist throwdown to the way we tell our stories and spin our songs is about the Revolution, and it is a revolution: hip-hop grooves stuffed with political critique, heroes of color taking over the old house and throwing a party. You’re invited, but you’ve got to learn new moves. Miranda based this epic-yet-personal pageant on Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography, which clued in the prodigious composer-lyricist to the fact that Hamilton was, as his opening lines have it, “a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a / Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten / Spot in the Caribbean.” Casting himself in the title role, Miranda claims Hamilton for the immigrant dissident.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Hamilton

    American history comes to thrilling life in a wildly entertaining musical that fulfills its considerable ambitions

    Frank Scheck

    February 17, 2015: There's rarely been a history lesson as entertaining as Lin-Manuel Miranda's new hip hop-infused musical about Alexander Hamilton, or, as the opening number puts it, "The ten-dollar founding father without a father." Based on Ron Chernow's best-selling biography, Hamilton brings American history to musical-theater life in a style akin to the classic 1776, only with a hipper, more multi-cultural attitude. Currently enjoying a virtually sold-out off-Broadway premiere engagement at the Public Theater, where its run has already been extended twice before the official opening, the show seems inevitably destined for a Broadway transfer.Miranda, previously responsible for the 2008 Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights, is clearly enamored of his subject. In addition to writing the book, music and lyrics for the nearly three-hour show, he also plays the title role. And while he's had the audacity to cast Hispanic and black actors as the Founding Fathers commonly referred to as "old dead white men," Miranda's work is remarkably faithful to the historical facts, imparting great amounts of information in such rollicking fashion that high school history teachers will find themselves profoundly grateful for the assist.

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF Hamilton

    Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton Is Worth Way More Than $10

    Jesse Green

    February 17, 2015: I don’t mean to suggest that you’re unpatriotic if you aren’t moved by Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sensational new hip-hop biomusical at the Public. But in order to dislike it you’d pretty much have to dislike the American experiment. The conflict between independence and interdependence is not just the show’s subject but also its method: It brings the complexity of forming a union from disparate constituencies right to your ears. It may confuse your ears, too; Few are the theatergoers who will be familiar with all of Miranda’s touchstones. I caught the verbal references to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Gilbert and Sullivan, Sondheim, West Side Story, and 1776, but other people had to point out to me the frequent hat-tips to hip-hop: Biggie Smalls, the Fugees, “Blame It (On the Alcohol).” And I’m sure that historians in the audience (the show was “inspired by” Ron Chernow’s 800-page Hamilton biography) will catch references that the rest of us fail to notice. (“The world turned upside down,” a repeated phrase in a number about the Battle of Yorktown, is the name of the ballad supposedly played by Redcoat musicians upon Cornwallis’s surrender there, in 1781.) But for all its complexity — its multistrand plotting and exploding rhyme-grenades — Hamilton is neither a challenge nor a chore. It’s just great.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Hamilton

    Lin-Manuel Miranda pens an epic musical about Alexander Hamilton

    Zachary Stewart

    February 17, 2015: Sometimes a show is crushed under the weight of its own hype. In recent weeks, Hamilton (now making its world premiere at the Public Theater with book, music, and lyrics by the show's star, Lin-Manuel Miranda) has been compared favorably to Tony Kushner's Angels in America and William Shakespeare's Henriad. Many have called it a game-changer. TheaterMania even predicted a Pulitzer Prize for the hip-hop bio-musical before it began public performances. How could any theatrical production live up to such expectations? Well, like its extraordinary subject, Hamilton exceeds all expectations. Exceptionally smart and unexpectedly timely, this story of an American patriot is the best new American musical in years. Electricity pervades the air from the earliest moments, in which a chorus introduces us to the ''bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman," who would grow up to become Alexander Hamilton (Miranda), the "ten-dollar founding father without a father." This prologue takes us from Hamilton's impoverished childhood in Nevis to his new life in New York City, all on the power of his brains and industry. The first person he meets off the boat: Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.), the man who is now mostly remembered for killing him.

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