When it was announced that the touring production of Hamilton would open in San Francisco, I decided with some friends that we were not throwing away our shot, and we bought season tickets to guarantee that we'd get to see it. (As it happens, I also got lucky with the general on-sale, and was able to buy tickets to a second show in June.) So we've been going to the theater since last fall, seeing The King and I (which was fun; despite its problematic elements, it's a childhood favorite of mine, so I had quite a bit of nostalgia for it), Finding Neverland (eh -- although it had nice production values), and Into the Woods (which I'd never seen in any format before, so I was pleased to finally have the chance). But it was all about Hamilton, really, so I've been bouncing about this for weeks. I think it's safe to say that the experience was pretty much everything I had hoped for. Even knowing the words nearly by heart, and having seen a few clips and GIFs here and there, there were still quite a few surprises in store, and the energy of the live performance was incredible. The audience was hyped, too -- I don't think I've ever been at a play where the theater erupted into cheers when the lights went down.
I went with an interesting mix of people, as far as their past experience with the show was concerned: two friends who had already seen it twice (once with most of the original cast in New York!), a few who had listened to the cast album a couple of times, and two who went in completely cold. Everyone enjoyed it a lot, and even the folks who were unfamiliar were able to follow along, although at least one commented that they were occasionally confused by the double casting.
Afterward, we happened to walk by the stage door, and we were able to get signatures on our programs from the actors who played Lafayette/Jefferson, Mulligan/Madison, and Hamilton. So that was fun! Although a part of me wishes I had gotten the opportunity to see the original cast, I thought all the touring actors did a fine job. (The only main cast member who rejoined from New York is Rory O'Malley, who plays King George, although some of the leads are played by former members of the chorus.) Some of them were clearly channeling the original actors (especially Joshua Henry as Burr), while others put a bit of their own spin on things (Emmy Raver-Lampman as Angelica, and to a certain extent Michael Luwoye as Hamilton, particularly in Act Two).
Anyway, I am very, very happy I had the opportunity to see this show, and am really looking forward to doing it all again in June. :)
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