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Broadway Hit “Hamilton” Opens in Chicago

Photo+courtesy+Chicago+Sun-Times.+Karen+Olivo+%28right%29%2C+Ari+Afsar+%28middle%29+and+Samantha+Marie+Wright+%28left%29+star+as+the+trio+of+sisters%2C+Angelica%2C+Eliza%2C+and+Peggy+Schuyler%2C+respectively.+
Photo courtesy Chicago Sun-Times. Karen Olivo (right), Ari Afsar (middle) and Samantha Marie Wright (left) star as the trio of sisters, Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy Schuyler, respectively.

Photo courtesy Chicago Sun-Times. Karen Olivo (right), Ari Afsar (middle) and Samantha Marie Wright (left) star as the trio of sisters, Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy Schuyler, respectively.

©2016 Joan Marcus

©2016 Joan Marcus

Photo courtesy Chicago Sun-Times. Karen Olivo (right), Ari Afsar (middle) and Samantha Marie Wright (left) star as the trio of sisters, Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy Schuyler, respectively.

Grace Bentley

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October 19th, Chicago, IL– The Chicago run of Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit musical “Hamilton” opened at the PrivateBank Theatre in downtown Chicago last Wednesday night. The show, the first production of the play created after the New York opening, led by director Thomas Kail, opened to rave reviews from the Chicago Sun Times, Variety, and the Chicago Tribune alike.

The musical follows the the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton–a figure many know from the ten dollar bill, a high school US class, or the mainstream success of Hamilton itself. It centers on the rise and fall of the first Treasury of Secretary and his relationships with wife Eliza Hamilton, mentor George Washington, and friend-turned-political-rival-turned-killer Aaron Burr.

Photo courtesy Variety. Miguel Cervantes stars as Alexander Hamilton in the Chicago production of "Hamilton".

Photo courtesy Variety. Miguel Cervantes stars as Alexander Hamilton in the Chicago production of “Hamilton”.

The Chicago run of the show was announced in the winter of 2015, and the cast was announced in early spring. It stars Miguel Cervantes as Hamilton, Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr, In the Heights veteran Karen Olivo as Angelica Schuyler, Jonathan Kirkland as George Washington, and newcomers Chris Lee as Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette and Ari Asfar as Eliza Hamilton.

While the PrivateBank has shown previews of the musical since September 27th, Wednesday was the show’s official opening. The show was sold out, as to be expected–since individual ticket sales began in the summer, many upcoming shows have ticket prices up to a $1000 or are sold out entirely.

After the immense success of the New York production, expectations were high for the Chicago production, and they did not disappoint: critics raved about the casting, staging, and music. The Chicago Sun Times celebrated: “This show, which has captivated the popular imagination in unimaginable ways, taps into the tempo and temper of both the historical and the contemporary in uncanny ways — conjuring a world turned upside down, yet capable of righting itself. A triumph.”

Written by Lin Manuel Miranda, the playwright previously known for 2008’s In the Heights, the hip-hop musical about the birth of our nation, burst onto the scene with major box office and mainstream success after its opening in New York City in the summer of 2015. With visits from celebrities varying from Beyonce to Meryl Streep to Barack Obama. It was nominated for 16 Tonys and won 11, including Best Musical, Best Actor (Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr), Best Featured Actress (Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler), Best Featured Actor (Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson/Marquis de Lafayette) and Best Score and Choreography.

Miranda’s innovative style of hip-hop, rap, blues, and classical Broadway music were highly praised, to the point where the album (in which every song of the 46-song-musical was recorded) hit number three on the Billboard Top 200. His casting of people of color as the lead roles of the musical was praised as well for, as Miranda put it, “to have the story look like the America looks now”.

Hamilton in Chicago runs six days a week, with matinees on Wednesday and Sunday. You can buy tickets here, and listen to the original cast recording on Spotify and iTunes.  

About the Writer
Grace Bentley, Author

Grace Bentley is a runner, writer, student, Target enthusiast, bad pun advocate, and avid sleeper among other things. She enjoys watching sunrises but highly dislikes getting up early in the morning (how she gets up for cross country/track meets, she’ll never know). Grace is currently a junior at LFHS, and lives in Lake Forest with her family and dog.

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