The Durham Performing Arts Center will present Hamilton on Nov. 6-11, 13-18, and 20-25 and Nov. 27-Dec. 2 as part of its 2018-19 SunTrust Broadway Series
Ever since the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) announced that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s much-celebrated Hamilton was coming to its stage, the whole Triangle has gone “Hamilton-crazy.” And, judging by this incredible production, directed by Thomas Kail, no one will be left disappointed.
The historical hip-hop musical bursts with energy and incredibly catchy songs right from the start as it zeroes in on the long-ago lives of Alexander Hamilton (Joseph Morales) and his frenemy Aaron Burr (Nik Walker). As these two characters, just like their real-life counterparts, struggle to create and shape a budding America, something beautiful takes shape and form onstage. That “something” is a whole new and much-needed kind of musical, one that’s transforming theatre as we know it.
Diverse casting that features minorities in leading roles and song and speech that defy the safe, stodgy stuff one usually hears on the stage make for a production that is spectacular not just for its cool effects and amazing entertainment value but for the values it upholds and proclaims- values that, appropriately, our very nation was founded upon.
Aside from the more serious implications of the production, it also has to be said that this show is…well… a lot of fun. Some of the best moments include the hilarious songs perfectly delivered by Jon Patrick Walker’s “King George.” Kyle Scatliffe’s over-the-top Thomas Jefferson also garners some well-deserved laughs.
And, while the humor is enjoyable, this is not a production without emotional depth. Both Burr and Hamilton are fully realized characters with intriguing motivations. Morales tackles Hamilton’s cockiness and bravado with ease while Walker nails Burr’s more cautious, less-convicted nature.
Viewers will feel for both characters, as well as for the people who make up their lives. These include Eliza Hamilton (Shoba Narayan) and her sister, Angelica Schuyler (Ta’rea Campell), who both share complex relationships with Alexander Hamilton but an even more meaningful relationship with one another.
Another standout character is Elijah Malcomb’s Philip Hamilton, Alexander’s young son. Some of the production’s most heartfelt and poignant moments involve this character, and Malcomb handles all of them with amazing aplomb.
In fact, there isn’t an actor out of place here, nor is there a lighting cue missed or any imperfection at all. Thanks to the high production value, richly-drawn characters, and a superior script, Hamilton is one show that truly lives up to the hype.
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