“Hamilton”

We saw the last show of the touring company’s visit to Madison. The kids have played the record hundreds of times so I know the songs very well. But there’s a lot you get from seeing the songs realized by actors in physical space.

  • I had imagined King George as a character in the plot interacting with the rest of the cast; but in the show, he’s a kind of god/chorus floating above the action, seeing certain things clearly that the people in the thick of it can’t. So his famous line, “I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love,” comes off in person as less menacing, more cosmic. Neil Haskell played the role very, very, very mincy, which I think was a mistake, but it got laughs.
  • On the other hand, I hadn’t grasped from the songs how big a role George Washington plays. It’s set up very nicely, with the relation between Hamilton and the two Schuyler sisters presented as a shadow of the much more robust and fully felt love triangle between Hamilton, Burr, and Washington.
  • The biggest thing I hadn’t understood from the record was the show’s gentle insistence, built up slowly and unavoidably over the whole of the night, that the winner of a duel is the one who gets shot.
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