“Hamilton” Touring Production at the Music Hall Finds New Nuance in Beloved Characters

The cast of Hamilton faces forward, raising hands into the air triumphantly.

The cast of Hamilton (Joan Marcus)

Hamilton sits in a tricky spot. It’s far too new of a play to be considered a classic (and to be granted the room for creative license that comes with that status), but as arguably the most massive hit of the modern era, there are few theatre-goers for whom the show is not a well-known entity. Between the cast album and the filmed version of the stage musical on Disney+, it is likely specifically the Broadway production led by the show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda that fans are intimately familiar with. With touring Broadway productions, it can often feel like the actors have been asked to do impressions of the original cast—especially when the roles were originated by celebrities, their performances deeply entwined with our perception of the production as a whole.

Given all of that, I found myself repeatedly surprised by how original the PNC Broadway production of Hamilton, currently running at the Music Hall, felt throughout. The cast has created deeply nuanced portrayals that stand on their own while still feeling true to the characters fans have come to know so well. What we see is a more aggressively maniacal King George (Peter Matthew Smith), a less bombastically paternalistic, more bureaucratic George Washington (Carvens Lissaint). These are all the characters we know and love, but from captivating new angles.

As Alexander Hamilton himself, Edred Utomi is spectacular, truly embodying the “young, scrappy, and hungry” energy the character proclaims himself to have. At times, Utomi seems to struggle to keep up with the longer phrases, losing breath (the same can be said for Stephanie Umoh’s Angelica Schuyler) but he shines when his character is engaged in debate, going full knives-out on the Constitutional Convention. (The show’s other major stand-out is Alysha Deslorieux, bringing extreme depth and charm to the complex role of Eliza Hamilton.)

The design elements at play here are—as always with PNC Broadway’s shows—top-notch, and follow the original Broadway designs. The towering set (David Korins) and dramatic lighting (Howell Binkley) are gorgeous and evocative, the costumes (Paul Tazewell) lush. The show is well worth seeing for any fans who haven’t yet gotten a chance to see Hamilton live on stage—and even has the potential to feel like a new experience for those who have.

“Hamilton” runs through April 2 at the Music Hall, 301 W 13th St. For more information, visit www.americantheatreguild.com.

Vivian Kane

Vivian Kane is a writer living in Kansas City. She covers pop culture and politics for a national audience at The Mary Sue and theatre and film locally, with bylines in The Pitch. She has an MFA in Theatre from CalArts.

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