Tickets to “Hamilton” on Broadway are practically impossible to purchase—especially on a journalist’s meager earnings—so, I’ve had to wait like everybody else to see the most talked about show in recent memory.
When I entered the Broward Center last week to see the show for the very first time, I found myself in an unusual situation, watching the show through the lens of the average theatergoer who doesn’t necessarily hop a flight to New York to see the latest shows before they make their way to South Florida.
We’ve all heard the hype about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rap/hip-hop spin on the life of Alexander Hamilton, but the time had finally come to judge the show for myself. Here are five takeaways that may help readers 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 (and the inspiration for Miranda’s musical), but do log into Wikipedia and catch up on the basic 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 when you’re seated in the Broward Center’s boomy Au Rene Theater.
- Don’t get caught up in all the hype.
“Hamilton” has arguably been the hottest ticket on Broadway for three years and the five-week national tour production at the Broward Center sold out fast. The show is hot, but it’s not worth $600 a ticket on the resale market or even $200. It’s a great show, but like many other groundbreaking 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 patient, but if you can’t wait, download the “Hamilton” app and get into the daily $10 ticket lottery. Good luck!
- 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 possible and this production certainly must be as close to the Broadway original as possible.
- But, if you’re not…
While Miranda’s musical is an incredible work of art, it 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.
The Tony Award-winning musical “Hamilton” is performed through Jan. 11, 2019 at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale. Currently, only resale tickets are available. A limited number of $10 tickets are awarded in a daily lottery on the official “Hamilton” app, available on your app store. For more information, go to BrowardCenter.org.