‘Hamilton’ Wows the Providence Performing Arts Center
The crowds have been breathlessly waiting years for the arrival of Hamilton at the PPAC, and last night's media screening did not disappoint.
Hamilton, the Lin-Manuel Miranda creation that has been white-hot on Broadway since 2015, has been selling out night after night with some of the best seating in New York approaching $1,000. Demand for the touring productions of the musical has been just as high.
The crowd was buzzing last night as people funneled into the theater. As a fan of history and old school hip hop, my hopes were high that I was going to enjoy the show.
The show is, of course, dominated by rap. Two performers, however, stood out to me. Bryson Bruce (pictured above), who played Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, had both a flow and a voice that reminded me a lot of Eminem. Bruce had a lot of the same raw passion and anger in his delivery that can be felt from the iconic Detroit rapper.
I also thoroughly enjoyed his counterpart, Chaundre Hall-Broomfield, who played Hercules Mulligan and James Madison. His delivery reminded me a lot of Busta Rhymes.
The show sparkles with subtle references to old school hip hop lyrics and samples. There's one play on lyrics from Notorious B.I.G.'s "If ya don't know, now ya know" lyrics from "Juicy" that really stands out. These subtle nods to rap royalty really made me wonder at times if some of the older members of the audience were fully appreciating the show. I can't imagine the 80-something-year-old white-haired woman in front of me downloaded many Biggie tracks from Napster back in the day. But there she was, vigorously clapping at the end of "My Shot."
Some of my favorite Hamilton moments were the substitution of rap battles for debate on the floor. They were ripe with funny, laugh out loud put-downs and burns that got the audience involved. There were also a few intentionally-placed references to "immigrants" that were intended to send a modern-day political message to the audience, which responded with roars of approval.
I loved Hamilton. Truthfully, there are very few musicals that I enjoy, but I've never seen a musical like this. It is amazing that a production set during the Revolutionary War could be one of the most cutting-edge performances that I've ever seen. The contrast between the historical stories and the hip hop presentation was brilliant.
Hamilton is worthy of the hype.
A limited number of seats are still available for the July 30-August 11 performances. They can be purchased on the PPAC website. There will also be a digital lottery of 40 tickets for every show at the PPAC. Daily winners will be given the chance to buy tickets for only $10. You can sign up on the Hamilton app, or by clicking the Hamilton Lottery link.