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My ‘Hamilton’ Experience In New York, Chicago, & On Tour

Hamilton on Broadway was a musical that took the world by storm. The American rap musical, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, came out in 2015. However, the actual creation of it started in 2008. In fact, in 2009, he performed the opening song for the Obamas at the White House.

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He described the concept as “America then, as told by America now,” and proceeded to cast predominantly non-white actors in the roles (minus Samuel Seabury and King George III). This was a big change for diversifying Broadway. The musical’s casting stressed that America is a nation built by immigrants and it regularly makes nods to Hamilton being an outcast for his background. 

Hamilton on Broadway won a variety of awards including, but not limited, to Tonys, a Grammy, and the Pulitzer Prize. It also led to a decision to replace the Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. 

What is Hamilton on Broadway about?

Hamilton follows the life of Alexander Hamilton from moving to America until his death. It includes a variety of other historical figures including George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Marquis de Lafayette, Aaron Burr, John Laurens, Hercules Mulligan, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, and Angelica Schuyler Church. While it is fairly accurate, there are details that are incorrect such as when he came to America, when he met his friends, Burr’s role in Hamilton’s life, amongst other details. 

 

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New York cast

Hamilton on Broadway premiered in July of 2015 and opened that August. It was suspended due to COVID in March of 2020 and reopened in September of 2021. The production won eleven Tony Awards.

The original cast is as follows:

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton.

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Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr 

Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton

Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson

Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler

Christopher Jackson as George Washington

Anthony Ramos as John Laurens and Philip Hamilton

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Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison

Jonathan Groff as King George III

Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds

Seeing Hamilton in New York

I saw Hamilton on Broadway in December of 2015 with the original cast (minus Lin-Manuel Miranda). I had matinee tickets as a birthday gift, which meant Javier Muñoz played Alexander Hamilton. Being really into the musical at the time, I and listened to it beginning to end frequently. Meanwhile, my family decided to go with no expectations.

hamilton new york city
Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in NYC/ CREDIT: Alexis Cosio

I was in shock. The entire walk to the theatre, we talked about seeing the show, but it felt unreal. When the show started, it sunk in, and I cried happy tears through the first few numbers (keep in mind I was just turning seventeen). Ther first time watching it was magical. Everyone around me was in awe of the performance and I felt like I could feel the people around me buzzing. 

I talked about it for weeks. My mom was really impressed with the blocking, dancing, and set, but said that sometimes it was hard for her to keep up with the rapping. However, when we got home, she started listening to the album on repeat and Lin-Manuel Miranda quickly became her favorite celebrity.

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HamilCHI cast

Hamilton Chicago opened September of 2016. It was originally only scheduled to run for seventeen weeks, but it ended up running until January of 2020.  

The original cast is as follows:

Miguel Cervantes as Alexander Hamilton

Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr

Ari Afsar as Eliza Hamilton

Chris Lee as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson

Karen Olivo as Angelica Schuyler

Jonathan Kirkland as George Washington

Jose Ramos as John Laurens and Philip Hamilton

Wallace Smith as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison

Alexander Gemignani as King George III

Samantha Marie Ware as Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds

Seeing Hamilton in Chicago

I saw Hamilton in Chicago, lovingly called HamilCHI, December of 2016. While I can’t recall if it was the original cast, I do remember that Joseph Morales was my Hamilton. I saw it with my mom again. We both were big fans at this point and we were excited to share it together again. I think we also had a certain amount of nerves that it couldn’t live up to the original cast. 

 

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But we were wrong. Each of the actors brought something new to the role. Their slight differences in performances kept us engaged. It was genuinely interesting to see how different actors perceived and portrayed the characters. If you’ve never seen the same show more than once, I highly recommend it if you’re a big fan. 

As we left the theatre, we talked about dream casts and what parts we’d assign the actors we’ve seen in the show if we were to see it again. It was full of “imagine this actor as this character paired with this actor as this character,” but also just talking about Broadway stars or Hollywood stars we’d love to see in the show.

On tour cast

Hamilton toured the United States three times (2017, 2018, 2019). I attended the tour in 2018. 

The 2018 original cast is as follows:

Joseph Morales as Alexander Hamilton

Nik Walker as Aaron Burr

Shoba Narayan as Eliza Hamilton

Kyle Scatliffe as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson

Ta’Rea Campbell as Angelica Schuyler

Marcus Choi as George Washington

Elijah Malcomb as John Laurens and Philip Hamilton

Fergie L. Philippe as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison

Jon Patrick Walker as King George III

Danielle Sostre as Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds

Seeing Hamilton on tour

I saw the 2018 cast of Hamilton in Ft. Lauderdale with my grandmother. It was her first time watching, but my mom had prepped her and gotten her to listen to the music in advance. My mom also saw it, just another night (and then she also went on to see it in Puerto Rico with Lin-Manuel Miranda). 

hamilton chicago
Hamilton at Broward Center for the Performing Arts/ CREDIT: Alexis Cosio

This time seeing it was exciting in new ways. One, it was at a theatre I frequented growing up. Two, my grandma was really excited. Three, the crowd was really friendly. Everyone around me was talking about their experience with being a fan of Hamilton. Plenty of people around me had seen it more than once. Some had seen it more than five times. Everyone had fun stories to share. While talking about my experience, I realized this was my second time seeing Joseph Morales

Just like the previous two times, I loved it. Genuinely, watching Hamilton will never get old for me. Seeing live theatre is genuinely unparalleled. 

More Hamilton content?

Whether you’ve seen Hamilton on Broadway or not, perhaps you want to watch more content. Nothing beats seeing the show live, but sometimes that’s not always an option. Luckily for you, there is no shortage of it. I’ll give a brief list of other Hamilton content you can consume. 

Hamilton recording on Disney+: This professional recording of the live show includes the original cast. While I’ll always say there’s nothing like live theatre, this gets pretty close. Plus, you have access to subtitles, which makes it a bit easier for a first watch.