Encore: Record setting musical ‘Hamilton’ continues to draw huge crowds

Hamilton has broken all the award records as the prized Broadway, “show of the decade,” and tickets have been sold out far into 2017, going at thousands a piece. Why the buzz for a show?

Junior Joel Ochoa, who’s seen the show in New York, knows why.

“I think that I would definitely rate ‘Hamilton’ probably a 9 or a 9.5 out of 10. The show is absolutely stunning,” he said. “Every song, every chord, every word is written in such a genius way that you can’t help but gawk at how incredible it is. The score isn’t ‘traditional Broadway,’ as it has elements of hip hop infused into it. At first, I was really skeptical of it, but I listened to it, and I was entranced at the way it was written.”

For Ochoa, the magic goes far beyond the music. “As an actor, I also love to look at characters and how their parts are written,” he said. “Every character in ‘Hamilton’ has a distinct purpose of why they are there, and every character is written so that they know what they want at every point in time. The story of Alexander Hamilton is also so interesting. The man’s life was literally a soap opera, and the story is one that can be watched over and over again and never lose its power.”

The grand picture of the show captures historic hero, Alexander Hamilton, and how he makes it to the top in the year of 1776. This show has been classified mostly as a drama and show tune hip hop R&B soul dancehall ballad.  The music is far from historical, as it relies on mostly rap and dramatic slam poetry. It follows a music of this age. It is musically in tune and in sync with what culture begs for.

Ochoa said, “There is no doubt about it. Even anyone who isn’t ‘musically tune’ should go see it. When my younger sister Lydia and I got to the theater last summer, we already knew most of the words and all the tunes to basically every song in the show. We were the first in line to get into the theater (because why wouldn’t we be), and it was awesome getting to talk to people that were standing around us who were just as excited to see the show. We got to see some of the actors walk into the theater, and Jasmine Cephas Jones (who plays Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds) walked right by us and waved to us.

“We got to our seats and the show started. By the first song we were already almost in tears because of how incredible it was. Everything about the show was everything that I hoped it would be. I got to sit in the fourth row, so I could see all the actors super clearly. They all were so good I just couldn’t believe how good they were. I know firsthand how tiring a show is, and it still amazes me how well they do it every single time, eight times a week to be exact.”

The show documents the life of Hamilton from an orphan to a struggling college man. With the help of Aaron Burr, he joins the revolution. He has had many doubters and obstacles. After much self determination and integrity, he gets the attention he needs.

Meanwhile he falls into an epic love triangle with the daughters of the most esteemed family of the age, not to mention them being revolutionaries. He falls in love with one of the daughters, Angelica Schuyler, yet she sizes him up too quickly. Angelica introduces him to her sister, Eliza, and they soon fall in love. However, Angelica sorely regrets this as she sees the kind of stuff he was made of.

The second half of this story highlights the star gaining followers and being a main director of this country’s future. He starts out singing, “You know, I’m just like my country. I’m young, scrappy and hungry, but I’m not throwin’ away my shot!”

Then the show progresses into the man who didn’t throw away, “his shot” and made the most of every situation. This show is best described as a modern drama, modern ideas and slang, yet thrown right back into 1776.

Though this was set back far into history, it is as fresh as any broadway created. Ochoa said, “‘Hamilton’ is easily one of the best shows on Broadway in a very long time. The dancing, the acting, the singing: all absolutely incredible. The show is just absolutely stunning; there is no other way to describe it. The show is really something that has never been seen on Broadway before, and it fulfills the rule of a ‘new thing’ so well. The show is an emotional roller coaster, with a funny moment one second, and the next, a moment that makes you cry more tears than you ever thought possible. The story itself is so powerful, and put it together with Lin Manuel Miranda’s (writer/director/actor) fantastic score, you got a great show.

“Another reason that I think makes ‘Hamilton’ work so well is that it tells about the history of America, and it shows the founding fathers in a real, human way. These people were just like us. They made the same mistakes. They all didn’t get along, but they just made something extraordinary despite all of it. Everyone can get something from the story, and I think that is what makes it so incredible. Also, any show that wins 11 Tony’s (the ‘Oscar’ for musicals) must be a pretty darn good show.”

The writer of “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, is 36 year old. He came to this idea unexpectedly. At the airport, while on a vacation from performing in his hit Broadway show “In the Heights,” Miranda bought and read a copy of “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, a biography of Alexander Hamilton. After reading a couple of chapters, Miranda  began envisioning the life of Hamilton as a musical and researched whether or not a musical of his life had been created.

Turned out there was a small make of it in 1917, starring George Arliss as Alexander Hamilton. Lin-Manuel  then began a, “Hamilton Mixtape,” and started writing some rough draft songs. On May 12, 2009, he performed his first song, “Alexander Hamilton,” at a spoken word night at the White House. It was such a hit that he decided to continue his work.

Fast forward a few years, and he would have the finished product, and he himself would be in the original cast as Alexander Hamilton.

The most popular songs include “Alexander Hamilton,” “Helpless,” “Satisfied,” “The Room Where It Happened,” “My Shot,” “Aaron Burr Sir” and many many more.

On Broadway, it received enthusiastic responses and unpredicted box office sales. By now it’s earned $61.7 million, and that’s just the beginning.  In 2016, “Hamilton” received a record-setting 16 Tony nominations, winning 11, including Best Musical, and was also earned the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Obviously, when it comes to the fine arts, this show has blown everything out of the water and is an absolute must see for all ages and tastes and anyone who is especially musically in tune.

Ochoa said, “I was feeling definitely a lot of feelings when the show was done. Some of them include, ‘what did I just watch?,’ ‘why can’t it last forever’ and ‘that was the best thing I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes.’ The magic of live theater is that it is live, and that it’s not supposed to be like a movie. It happens one time, and then it lives on in your memory for years to come. I still can ‘see’ parts of the show when I think about it, and it makes me smile every single time. Hamilton is amazing, and I hope some day that everyone gets to see it.”

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