HAMILTON at the National Arts Center in Ottawa

Company – HAMILTON National Tour
(c) Joan Marcus 2021

Last night, Broadway Across Canada offered Ottawa from Hamilton first performance of a nearly three-week tour at the National Arts Centre. After two years of COVID-19-related delays, the anticipation for the show was huge and the crowd’s excitement was palpable. From the moment the house lights went out, the audience roared their approval.

As its title suggests, hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton (Pierre Jean Gonzalez), one of the founding fathers of the United States. Although it might seem like an unlikely topic for a Broadway show, strange things have happened. [here’s looking at you, Come From Away].

Born out of wedlock in the British West Indies in what is now Nevis, Hamilton was denied mainstream schooling due to his parentage. His mother died when he was just 13 and from there Hamilton had to make his own way in the world. He sold goods to pay for his education and housing and eventually moved to New York and graduated from King’s College, now known as Columbia University.

Hamilton (Philip Company)
Company – HAMILTON National Tour – (c) Joan Marcus 2021

From these humble beginnings, Hamilton has built an impressive resume. He fought in the American Revolution, made himself indispensable as a senior aide to George Washington (Marcus Choi), served as Treasury Secretary, Congressman, practicing attorney, and became the founder of the New York Bank. , the first financial institution in the United States. His face is still on the US ten dollar bill.

The show addresses these historical elements and highlights the fact that Hamilton started from scratch and forged his own successes. That’s not to say he was without fault or that he didn’t make certain decisions that had devastating consequences. It’s painfully obvious when it comes to his personal life. His wife, Eliza (Vanessa Magula), has endured heartbreak more than once as a direct result of Hamilton’s actions, but has always emerged with dignity and grace. Eliza’s story, while secondary to Hamilton’s on the show, is equally captivating.

Hamilton (Philip Company)
Stephanie Jae Park, Ta’Rea Campbell, Paige Smallwood
HAMILTON National Tour – (c) Joan Marcus 2021

Each touring production is named after a character from the series. The Ottawa touring cast goes by the nickname “Philip”. It’s generally expected that production actors on tour aren’t always as experienced as those you might see on the Great White Way, but the performances of the entire Philip Tour were on par with their counterparts in Broadway. The star for me was Ta’Rea Campbell as Angelica – she gave a powerful performance and stole the stage every time she appeared. Her voice in one of my favorite songs, “It’s Quiet Uptown”, was so heartfelt it literally brought tears to my eyes. Jared Dixon and Gonzalez as Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, respectively, were both outstanding and dominated the stage with their presence. Magula portrayed Eliza as both gentle and strong. Magula is researching the role of Eliza, but you would never know from her performance.

Hamilton (Philip Company)
Neil Haskell – HAMILTON National Tour
(c) Joan Marcus 2021

Neil Haskell has drawn laughs and applause every time he’s appeared as King George, even subtly referencing his character’s madness and near-abdication in his latest revival.

Even though Lin Manuel Miranda (book, music and lyrics) offers audiences a lesson in American history, that doesn’t mean it’s not entertainment at its finest. With catchy songs and clever lyrics in a variety of styles, including hip hop, there really is something for everyone. hamilton. A highlight for me was when Hamilton and Burr faced off in a cabinet meeting to explain their respective political positions in a rap battle – and I don’t even like rap music in general!

The choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler) is stunning; the ensemble shows its talent every time it appears on stage, but more particularly during “Yorktown”. Even though the set design (David Korins) seems relatively simple at first glance, it is used in an interesting way and the use of two levels, moving stairs and a turntable allows the characters to travel through space.

It’s easy to see why hamilton won 11 Tony Awards and proved enduring – it has a varied and modern style, strong characters that develop over the course of the show, and an empowering message.

While it’s true that the show can be seen with the original Broadway cast in all its glory on Disney+, if you’re hesitant to buy tickets, Hamilton is definitely worth a visit in person. In the spirit of making Broadway accessible to all, hamilton offers a chance to win lottery tickets for $10 per seat (maximum two tickets). Download the hamilton app on Google Play or the Apple App Store for more details and to enter. After all, as Aaron Burr says, you “have to be in the room where it’s happening.”

Broadway Across Canada Presents hamilton at the National Arts Center until July 31. Click here for tickets and timetables.

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