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Hamilton: The Founding Father Take on South Florida

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While staying true to the original version, the North American tour of Hamilton brings new talents to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

November 22nd, 2022

Hamilton, a 21st-century cultural phenomenon about a founding father born in 1757 has been taking the musical theater world by storm ever since it debuted on Broadway in 2015. It holds the record for the most number of Tony Nominees (16), the highest charted cast album in history, and still, half a decade later, is making waves as tours continue to South Florida and around the world.

The genre-blending musical, playing at The Broward Center for Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale Nov. 22 – Dec. 11, markets itself as “the story of America then, told by America now.” The song are a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and classic showtunes; they depict the trauma, battles, politics, love, and death of Alexander Hamilton (played by Endred Utomi), the nation’s first secretary of the treasury. But the narrator of the show is none other than Hamilton’s ultimate political opponent and eventual killer: Aaron Burn.

This show, while a bit fast for first-time viewers not used to rap, covers fifty years of history, interlaced with witty, thoughtful lyrics and impeccable comedic delivery. The use of traditional scoring and more tech-sounding instrumentation give Hamilton a unique sound, though in my single qualm I think the technical echoes of Burr and Angelica (Hamilton’s sister-in-law) in “Wait for It” and “Satisfied”, respectively were a bit awkward and artificial at times.

Despite seeing the show both on Broadway and several more times through the full stage recording that was released to Disney Plus, there is always some new dancer to ogle at, or lyric to ponder even if I thought I knew every line. Seeing it in person makes it so clear why the musical became a phenomenon: the energy from the stage and countless things to listen and look at, make it a show that even after viewing many times always seems fresh.

Akin to its original version, this North American tour of this musical features a rotating stage and an ensemble that perfectly compliments each scene, making the backgrounds seem fluid with their movements. While Angelica is performing her solo in center stages in  “The Schuyler Sisters” ensemble, members are depicting a bustling cityscape behind her, passing a plank of wood from one another or reading a dense book and discussing it with a neighbor or flipping gracefully furniture to create minisets.

While each actor and actress delivers a star performance in their roles, certain performers of course stand out. Edred Utomi, who plays Hamilton, stands out with his clear enunciation of each syllable in the more rap-style songs and his alluring stage presence as he practically pounces across the stage in certain numbers. Carvens Lissaint, who plays George Washington, commands the audience with his deep voice like the general commands his troops. Lastly, holding the emotional bearings to the show, Alysha Deslorieux, playing Eliza Hamilton, delivers stunning acting compounded with her melodic voice that brought many audience members to tears.

The show’s energy, driven by the cast, seeps into the audience. Despite oftentimes having a more somber tone, the show still had many moments of joy and even more laughs. The actors David Park, Tyler Belo, and Jared Howelton, who play Hamilton’s friend in the first act, crack jokes and play off each other really well.

“You’ll be Back”, sung by Bryson Bruce who plays King George III, is a ridiculous love ballad and break-up song to the United States of America, and though King George III often lacks common sense, Bruce made up for it with his shoulder shrugs, royal struts, and pompous recovery after the crown accidentally slipped his head.

As good and encapsulating as the version on Disney Plus, nothing can replace going to a theater and seeing this masterpiece of a musical in person. So as the North American Tour continues at Fort Lauderdale and beyond, do not throw away your shot at seeing it live.

For a chance to win $10 tickets enter the Ham4Ham lottery here.

Regular tickets are also still available at BrowardCenter.org and Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 954.468.0222 or at the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office located at 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33312.

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