“Hamilton” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – June 26, 2024


Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

The outstanding Tony Award-winning musical “Hamilton” makes its fourth local stop at ASU Gammage and the artful production does the show brilliant justice.  “Hamilton” has become a classic musical theater standard and producers carefully monitor the tour so it reflects the Broadway production by employing superb casting and keeping the sharply definitive staging in flawless form.  You are truly seeing a production locally that monitors the original production that is still playing to capacity crowds on Broadway where it debuted in 2015.

It is a remarkable creation that traces the beginnings of this country through the experiences of Alexander Hamilton but unlike drab history books the musical turns the country’s founding fathers into real people full of foibles and political stubbornness.  That this group of assorted men with wildly divergent views was able to put the country together remains amazing.  This feat no longer seems possible as the country skirmishes with many major issues that mandate compromise to resolve. If the founding fathers hadn’t been able to negotiate who knows if our country’s democracy could have become something to preserve.

“Hamilton” is set when an escape from British tyranny came to a head in 1776 when these forward-thinking men created a fair and equable union.  The show reminds us of the importance of continuing what this assemblage crafted even if they left some things unresolved like slavery and women’s issues.

“Hamilton” was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda as a through-sung re-creation of the country’s establishment blessed with his stalwart musical score that employs everything from conventional ballads to the latest hip-hop creations to cleverly describe the country’s birth.  Also noteworthy is Thomas Kail’s biting direction and Andy Blankenbuehler’s deviating choreography which makes the trials and tribulations of the country’s establishment fully believable.  It never allows the historic story to slow down as the entire affair moves at ever-gyrating locomotion.

Every performer in the fine touring production is dynamic and perfect in their respective roles.  Standouts include Blaine Alden Krauss as the flamboyant but studious Alexander Hamilton, Deon’te Goodman’s somber Aaron Burr, and Paul Louis Lessard’s foppishly hilarious King George.

Music director James Davis Jr. did a commendable job of keeping the spunky orchestra and cast together as he navigated through the tricky score.  The production’s visual look – artful lighting, a stunningly usable unit set, and period costumes – makes the production a jewel to observe.

“Hamilton” is an incredible musical that makes the founding of this country into an understandable amalgamation of what we know but that didn’t always seem believable.  “Hamilton” continues through Sunday, July 28.  To order tickets, call the ASU Gammage box office at 480-965-3434 or order tickets online at www.asugammage.com.

Grade: A