Hamilton: Feeling Helpless and Satisfied

Okay, here we go! Another musical theater review!

Anaum Hussain, Staff Writer

   Back at the Au-Rene theater on Sunday, December 4th, I went with my fellow senior and good friend Elio Galvez to Hamilton and we enjoyed it immensely. Elio and I both agreed that despite the three hour running time, it didn’t feel like it! I’ll always have a bit of a soft spot for Hamilton. It’s not even close to my favorite musical anymore, that spot belongs to Legally Blonde: The Musical, but it was the musical that introduced me to musical theater. Everyone knows what Hamilton is—it’s one of the biggest Broadway musicals ever. But let’s do a quick recap!

     Hamilton centers around Alexander Hamilton’s (Edred Utomi) adventure to becoming the “Ten-dollar founding father without a father.” There’s those who fought with him, those who died for him, those who loved him, and Aaron Burr (Josh Tower), “…the damn fool that shot him.” 

     Now, here’s the real question: in all areas, how does this cast stand up to the stiff competition of the Original Broadway Cast (OBC)?

     And my answer is… in some aspects, they were better. Alright, alright! Before the Hamilfans come after me, hear me out! 

     Let’s start with the most controversial opinion I have on this show: Edred Utomi was better than Lin-Manuel Miranda. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s voice is a highly divisive topic, and while I personally don’t mind it that much, Edred Utomi blew him out of the water at some points. Utomi absolutely projected the upstart kid vibes that really characterize Hamilton in the first act, and in the second he really showed his stuff as a more mature yet still wild and aggressive character. And I’m not afraid to admit that I teared up a little at his speech during The World Was Wide Enough

     I didn’t mind the new cast in the slightest. I think the hallmark of a good musical cast is when they don’t make you miss the original cast, and this one sure didn’t.

     One of the most unique things about Hamilton is how between Act 1 and Act 2, certain cast members change roles. Marquis de Lafayette becomes Thomas Jefferson (David Park), Hercules Mulligan becomes James Madison (Tyler Belo), John Laurens becomes Phillip Hamilton (Jon Viktor Corpuz), and Peggy Schuyler becomes Maria Reynolds (Yana Perrault). But one of the stunning and most challenging things about Hamilton is the fact that the cast is put to the task of changing characters abruptly, becoming a new character instantaneously. This cast pulled it off just as well as the original Broadway cast, and Lafayette/Jefferson, in particular, stood out as a stellar singer. I didn’t think it was possible to kill “Guns and Ships” or “What’d I Miss” as hard as Daveed Diggs, but Park absolutely hits that mark. 

     George Washington (Carvens Lissaint) was a standout, and was Elio’s favorite in the cast! Specifically, “I thought Washington had great voice inflection!” he exclaimed, ending with a simple but standout comment expressing his overall love for it. I can’t help but agree with him, because Lissaint really did do amazing things with “One Last Ride” and “Right Hand Man.” Neither of us could tear our eyes away from the stage.

     Now, here’s the part where I was in absolute awe. The Schuyler Sisters. Angelica Schuyler’s (Stephanie Umoh) “Satisfied” was just brilliant. “It’s Ben Franklin with a key and a kite! You see it, right?” That specific line aligns with lanterns coming down from the rafters and lighting up just between her sentences, perfectly timed. “Satisfied” is one of the absolute hardest songs on modern Broadway, and Umoh didn’t just kill it. She slaughtered it. Eliza Schuyler Hamilton (Alysha Deslorieux) also took her second-act solo “Burn” and practically burned the stage down with it. Literally, they used actual fire for her to burn Hamilton’s letters with. Peggy Schuyler is really barely in one song, but as her second-act self, Maria Reynolds, Yana Perrault is criminally underutilized. She has one song, “Say No To This”, and it’s this quiet, seductive song that couldn’t have been pulled off better. 

     And here’s the best person in the entire cast. Josh Tower’s Aaron Burr. I absolutely adored him. Tower’s Burr was by far the star of the cast. “Wait For It” is my second favorite song in the show after “Satisfied”, and Tower absolutely killed it! I couldn’t tear my eyes off the stage! 

     So, that’s all I’ve got. Hamilton’s still around till December 11th! I highly suggest that you check it out! It’ll leave you feeling “Helpless” and you’ll soon be “Satisfied!” 10/10!