Posted in #critique, 11 Tony Award winning musical, historically-based musical, Pulitzer Prize winning musical

“Hamilton” A Perfect 10 that won 11

As a theater lover and blogger who has been obsessed over the tragedy that has been our electoral year, Hamilton has given me a gift. Thank you Brandon Victor Dixon. Your eloquence brought (joy-filled) tears to my eyes.

Here to protect and serve, the cast of Hamilton steps up to petition an elected official on behalf of the dissenting 50%.

In response to Brandon Victor Dixon’s curtain plea to VP-Elect Mike Pence, the future president @realDonaldTrump took to Twitter to rage against the show. Here’s the (free) speech the Donald found so objectionable.

As is his wont, the PE created storm in a teacup. Here’s the Trump response, although we know that the Tweeter-In-Chief (as I have heard him called) did not just Tweet once about this issue: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/799972624713420804

Mike Pence, for the record, thought that the cast was simply exercising a Constitutionally guaranteed privilege of citizenship.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/20/politics/mike-pence-hamilton-message-trump/

Our Theater Blog: TandBOnTheAisle

Alexander Hamilton was this country’s first banker-in-chief, a job which the young revolutionary fulfilled with the same brilliance and passion of all his endeavors. We commemorate him on our ten dollar bill, but are largely unaware of his contributions to his country of choice –yes, he was, like so many of us, an immigrant.

Alexander Hamilton’s life played out on the broad stage of a nascent United States.

Lin-Manuel Miranda has put him center-stage in the radically new bio-musical, Hamilton, which recently transferred from the Public to the Richard Rodgers in an open run.

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton Photo © Joan Marcus Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton Photo © Joan Marcus

The trip uptown from Astor Place has only given Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton a bigger stage on which to play out its amazing history of the founding of the United States. The stage at the Richard Rodgers should be familiar to Lin-Manuel Miranda…

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Posted in theater, year end bests

Year end review

Looking back on the year about to pass is a time-honored activity. Critics make lists of the past year’s favorites and share them. Seems like a good time for T and B On the Aisle to do that, too.

Okieriete Onaodowan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Anthony Ramos, and the company of Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Okieriete Onaodowan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Anthony Ramos, and the company of Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.

While Hamilton remains my perfect 10 (it feels like I posted at least 10 reflections on it), I have a deep appreciation for the literate and show-bizy silliness that is Something Rotten! (which got more than a few mentions from me as well.)

And a new fave has hit town with the opening of the Broadway version of the Mike White-written Jack Black movie, School of Rock. team that brought it to Broadway includes Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber (music), Glenn Slater (lyrics) and Julian Fellowes (book) with choreography by Joann M. Hunter and scenic-costume designs by Ann Louizos. School of Rock-The Musical really rocks.

In the straight play category, there are several contenders for year’s best. Taylor Mac’s Hir and Stephen Karam’s The Humans are at the top of the list. (The latter is headed for Broadway in 2016.) Peter Parnell’s Dada Woof Papa Hot is an entertaining and well-devised show, as well.

More here…

 

Posted in based on a true story or event, bio-musical, musical theater, theater

“Hamilton” is still A Perfect 10!

Alexander Hamilton was this country’s first banker-in-chief, a job which the young revolutionary fulfilled with the same brilliance and passion of all his endeavors. We commemorate him on our ten dollar bill, but are largely unaware of his contributions to his country of choice –yes, he was, like so many of us, an immigrant.

Alexander Hamilton’s life played out on the broad stage of a nascent United States.

Lin-Manuel Miranda has put him center-stage in the radically new bio-musical, Hamilton, which recently transferred from the Public to the Richard Rodgers in an open run.

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton Photo © Joan Marcus
Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton Photo © Joan Marcus

The trip uptown from Astor Place has only given Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton a bigger stage on which to play out its amazing history of the founding of the United States. The stage at the Richard Rodgers should be familiar to Lin-Manuel Miranda since his Tony winning In The Heights was there for nearly three years, with Miranda in the lead as Usnavi for a good chunk of that time.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and the company of Hamilton. Photo © Joan Marcus
Lin-Manuel Miranda and the company of Hamilton. Photo © Joan Marcus

 

 

In Hamilton, for which he created the book (based on Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton,) wrote the lyrics, and composed the music, Miranda is the titular striver.  The story follows Alexander Hamilton from his arrival as an impoverished 19-year old to New York from the small island of Nevis in the Caribbean through his illustrious career as revolutionary, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and George Washington’s (Christopher Jackson) Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton is a firebrand, and his fervor spills over making his relationships, even with Washington who is supportive of his ideas and career, difficult. (See our tweet as part of this commentary.)

Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom, Jr.) advises Alexander early on to “talk less, smile more.” Eventually, Alexander Hamilton, despite his contentious personality. forges a near miraculous agreement with Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) and James Madison (Okieriete Onaodowan). The Congress approves a unified central bank under which the new democracy flourished.

Alexander Hamilton was nothing if not determined. As he and the Marquis de Lafayette (Daveed Diggs, again) put it, “We’re immigrants; we get things done.” Hamilton gains General Washington’s trust because he never gives up on his principles.

Hamilton’s wife, Eliza (Phillipa Soo), and her sister Angelica (Renée Elise Goldsberry), from the prominent Schuyler family, are both devoted to him. Angelica is his intellectual equal and a champion of his ideas. Their sister, Peggy (Jasmine Cephas Jones) looks like she, too, fell under the spell of his charismatic drive. Alexander Hamilton was something of a lady’s man, it seems.

In the course of some three hours, the United States emerge from the colonies, America elects its third President– Thomas Jefferson, who wins the 1800 election against Burr with Hamilton’s endorsement–, and Burr is embittered by his failure to prevail. All this history unravels in anthems of rap and hip hop, pop and love songs.  King George (Jonathan Groff) laments his unfaithful colonies in a British pop tune mode. This tuneful sampling is a brilliant reflection of the spirit of revolution and renewal that Hamilton (and the period it depicts) represents.

The outsider’s story is America’s story. We are a nation, like Alexander Hamilton, of people who came from elsewhere to succeed, or as a Hamilton song puts it get “My Shot,” here.

Hamilton, under Thomas Kail’s direction of the no-less than brilliant cast and with Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography for the excellent ensemble of “back-up” dancers and players, is the most entertaining history lesson ever devised. Hamilton is no less than genius!

(Previous mentions on T and B On The Aisle and elsewhere by Tamara Beck may have understated how great a musical Hamilton really is:  http://wp.me/p5jq0w-mWhttp://wp.me/p5jq0w-5ehttp://wp.me/p5jq0w-iKhttp://wp.me/p5jq0w-vx.)

Also, see what I had to say about Hamilton at VevlynsPen.com.

For tickets to the season’s hottest new show, please visit www.hamiltonbroadway.com/

 

 

Posted in based on a true story or event, bio-musical, musical theater, theater

A Perfect 10!

Alexander Hamilton was this country’s first banker-in-chief, a job which the young revolutionary fulfilled with the same brilliance and passion of all his endeavors. We commemorate him on our ten dollar bill, but are largely unaware of his contributions to his country of choice –yes, he was, like so many of us, an immigrant.

Alexander Hamilton’s life played out on the broad stage of a nascent United States.

Lin-Manuel Miranda has put him center-stage in the radically new bio-musical, Hamilton, which recently transferred from the Public to the Richard Rodgers in an open run.

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton Photo © Joan Marcus
Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton Photo © Joan Marcus

The trip uptown from Astor Place has only given Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton a bigger stage on which to play out its amazing history of the founding of the United States. The stage at the Richard Rodgers should be familiar to Lin-Manuel Miranda since his Tony winning In The Heights was there for nearly three years, with Miranda in the lead as Usnavi for a good chunk of that time.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and the company of Hamilton. Photo © Joan Marcus
Lin-Manuel Miranda and the company of Hamilton. Photo © Joan Marcus

 

 

In Hamilton, for which he created the book (based on Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton,) wrote the lyrics, and composed the music, Miranda is the titular striver.  The story follows Alexander Hamilton from his arrival as an impoverished 19-year old to New York from the small island of Nevis in the Caribbean through his illustrious career as revolutionary, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and George Washington’s (Christopher Jackson) Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton is a firebrand, and his fervor spills over making his relationships, even with Washington who is supportive of his ideas and career, difficult. (See our tweet as part of this commentary.)

Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom, Jr.) advises Alexander early on to “talk less, smile more.” Eventually, Alexander Hamilton, despite his contentious personality. forges a near miraculous agreement with Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) and James Madison (Okieriete Onaodowan). The Congress approves a unified central bank under which the new democracy flourished.

Alexander Hamilton was nothing if not determined. As he and the Marquis de Lafayette (Daveed Diggs, again) put it, “We’re immigrants; we get things done.” Hamilton gains General Washington’s trust because he never gives up on his principles.

Hamilton’s wife, Eliza (Phillipa Soo), and her sister Angelica (Renée Elise Goldsberry), from the prominent Schuyler family, are both devoted to him. Angelica is his intellectual equal and a champion of his ideas. Their sister, Peggy (Jasmine Cephas Jones) looks like she, too, fell under the spell of his charismatic drive. Alexander Hamilton was something of a lady’s man, it seems.

In the course of some three hours, the United States emerge from the colonies, America elects its third President– Thomas Jefferson, who wins the 1800 election against Burr with Hamilton’s endorsement–, and Burr is embittered by his failure to prevail. All this history unravels in anthems of rap and hip hop, pop and love songs.  King George (Jonathan Groff) laments his unfaithful colonies in a British pop tune mode. This tuneful sampling is a brilliant reflection of the spirit of revolution and renewal that Hamilton (and the period it depicts) represents.

The outsider’s story is America’s story. We are a nation, like Alexander Hamilton, of people who came from elsewhere to succeed, or as a Hamilton song puts it get “My Shot,” here.

Hamilton, under Thomas Kail’s direction of the no-less than brilliant cast and with Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography for the excellent ensemble of “back-up” dancers and players, is the most entertaining history lesson ever devised. Hamilton is no less than genius!

(Previous mentions on T and B On The Aisle and elsewhere by Tamara Beck may have understated how great a musical Hamilton really is:  http://wp.me/p5jq0w-mWhttp://wp.me/p5jq0w-5ehttp://wp.me/p5jq0w-iKhttp://wp.me/p5jq0w-vx.)

Also, see what I had to say about Hamilton at VevlynsPen.com.

For tickets to the season’s hottest new show, please visit www.hamiltonbroadway.com/

 

 

Posted in drama, hip-hop musical, historical musical, musical theater, theater

He’s on the $10 bill

 Lin-Manuel Miranda and the company of Hamilton. Photo © Joan Marcus
Lin-Manuel Miranda and the company of Hamilton. Photo © Joan Marcus

Hip-hop can be clever and expressive. Lin-Manuel Miranda definitely is both clever and expressive. In fact, he can  be positively brilliant.

Hamilton, a Broadway transfer from The Public now at the Richard Rodgers Theater, is a historical hip-hop musical by Miranda. In it, the Founding Father is seen as fulfilling the American dream, as an an ambitious, self-taught immigrant. Alexander Hamilton’s vision for his adopted land was to help create its financial system and sponsor its Constitution and support a strong federal government.

More and a review after the opening…. 

In the meantime, check out these blog posts:

http://wp.me/p5jq0w-mW

http://wp.me/p5jq0w-5e

http://wp.me/p5jq0w-iK

For tickets to the season’s hot new show, please visit http://www.hamiltonbroadway.com/

 

Posted in bio-musical, musical theater

Not so long ago, we were anticipating “Hamilton” and now it’s here

In fact, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers and Constitutionalists is in it’s third extension at the Public Theatre, running through May 3rd.

We were fortunate to get a preview of “Hamilton” at Lincoln Center’s 2012 American Songbook (see our write up on http://wp.me/p5jq0w-iK)

Here’s what we said way back last year in Our Theater Blog, when “Hamilton” was still just in the planning stage,  http://wp.me/p5jq0w-5e:

“Hamilton,” written by the Tony and Grammy Award-winning composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, will have its world premiere next January as part of The Public’s 2014-15 season at Astor Place. Directed by his In The Heights collaborator Thomas Kail, this new musical features Miranda playing Alexander Hamilton, one of our country’s Founding Fathers and the first Secretary of the Treasury.

The brilliant musical “previewed” at an American Songbooks presentation in 2012. Performances begin at the Public on January 20, 2015.

“Lin-Manuel Miranda is a marvel, but nothing could have prepared us for the astonishing achievement of Hamilton,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Alexander Hamilton was born in the West Indies, the only Founding Father who was an immigrant, and Lin’s genius is to tell the story of the birth of the United States as an immigrant’s story. The energy, the passion, joy, tragedy, and raw intelligence of this show are stunning.”

More information at http://www.publictheater.org/