Hamilton: An American Musical

On the 22nd of December 2017, I was lucky enough to attend the opening of ‘Hamilton’ the musical on the West End in London. Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda is a musical inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography ‘Alexander Hamilton’, which explains the key events in one of the founding fathers of America’s life, Alexander Hamilton.  Lin-Manuel Miranda’s writing was influenced by modern music, such as hip hop and rap to create a new phenomenon which appeals to all generations. His ingenious use of words astonishes audiences not only in London, but all over the USA.

Upon entering the Victoria Palace Theatre, I was immediately immersed into the energy and excitement of the crowd. The newly refurbished theatre was elegant, with large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Aspects of gold were scattered around the rooms, as it is the signature colour associated with the musical. The staff were accommodating, and welcoming, as well as extremely outgoing and helpful and even though my friend and I were young, we were treated with just as much respect as the press that attended.

The set design was innovative and clever. There were many entrances and exits that the actors could use which made it more interesting to watch as it was not repetitive, which allowed the audience to stay completely engaged. The stage in the centre span in a circular motion, which created the illusion of walking down the street, and also drew more suspense when duels were taking place. It was also fascinating to watch the ensemble dance on it. Furthermore, the use of lighting helped to add emotion and intensity. For example, when Alexander’s son Philip dies, the single spotlight on them and the rest of the stage in darkness singled them out and you could not take your eyes off the event unfolding, which created an emotional atmosphere.

After listening to the original soundtrack, I feared the English cast would not be able to recreate the same emotion and meaning through the music as what the original cast did, however by expectations were completely exceeded. Hamilton, played by Jameal Westman, was only 25, however had complete command of the stage. For many of the actors they were fresh out of school, and it was their West End debut, which was amazing as they conducted themselves like complete professionals.

Overall, I would recommend ‘Hamilton’ to anyone, as it not only includes history that you can learn from, but songs that will amaze you and voices that will give you goose bumps. It is one of the best musicals I have ever seen and deserves all of the 5-star reviews it was rewarded.