“Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rap/hip-hop spin on the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, is still the hottest ticket on Broadway. After a sold out run at the Broward Center last season, the touring production is returning to South Florida for extended runs at both the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and the Arsht Center in Miami.
After reflecting on that Broward Center performance, here are five takeaways that may help lucky ticket-holders make the most of the experience and perhaps enjoy the show just a little bit more:
- Brush up on your history.
Isn’t Alexander Hamilton the guy on the $10 bill? Aside from that, most Americans know little to nothing about our first Treasury secretary, other than he was one of our venerable founding fathers. You don’t have time to read Ron Chernow’s definitive 832-page biography (even though Miranda did), but do log into Wikipedia and catch up on all the facts you may have forgotten since your sophomore U.S. History class.
- Download the original cast recording.
Did I mention that “Hamilton” is essentially a rap musical? Sure, there are a couple of straight musical numbers, but most of the title character’s life is conveyed through fast-moving rhyme and can be hard to understand, especially in the many ensemble numbers. For about ten bucks, you can download the Grammy Award-winning original cast recording (featuring Miranda himself in the title role) and give the smart lyrics a listen. You’ll be glad you did.
- Don’t get caught up in all the hype.
“Hamilton” has arguably been the hottest ticket on Broadway for more than four years and tickets for both runs went fast. The show is incredible, but it’s not worth $600 a ticket on the resale market or even $200. Remember, like many other blockbuster musicals (“Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables,” “The Book of Mormon”), it’s going to be around for a long time and touring productions will make their way back to South Florida sooner, rather than later.
- Be prepared to be amazed.
On every level, this touring production is one of the finest on the road. The incredibly talented cast perform with passion and skill; the book and music absolutely deserved that Pulitzer Prize; the choreography is inventive and perfectly danced; and the set, lighting and sound design are executed at a level rarely seen in a touring production. There’s a reason the show has snatched practically every award and this production certainly must be as close to the Broadway original as humanly possible.
- But, if you’re not…
While Miranda’s musical is an incredible work of art, it still may not be your favorite show and that’s okay. You can appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity, but be ready for a cocktail after three hours of fast-paced rap and hip-hop music. Your friends and neighbors will still be impressed.
The Tony Award-winning musical “Hamilton” will be presented through – Feb. 16 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and Feb. 18 – March 15 at the Arsht Center in Miami. Tickets are extremely limited. For more information, go to Kravis.org and ArshtCenter.org.