Hamilton In LA

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Hamilton In LA

Keana Saberi, Reporter

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 The air was still, chilly, and crisp. My eyes began to water. The lights of the Hollywood Pantages Theatre sign gleamed and burned brightly as a gaggle of people fled inside the theatre as the doors slide wide open. Gold posters adorned the walls outside the theater, emblems of excitement and oncoming thrill.Inside the theatre’s walls, a buzz of people rambled under the amber and Royal azure ceiling, a piece of art straight out of a 50s glamour film. A grand velveted staircase ran through the main room, twisting and turning. Signs of upcoming Broadway shows such as ‘Aladdin’ stood at the entrance. Only an hour before the show, the air buzzed with an unprecedented excitement.

The doors of the auditorium swung open revealing the inside of the theatre, allowing the audience to flood. The set was designed with wooden structures and low hanging ropes that hung down onto the stage below. As everyone began arriving at their seats, the lights of the room illuminated the beautiful blue and gold decorations of the room.

When the first musical flutter, the excitement in the air increased tenfold. The lights illuminated the cast, all decked out in their costumes, the ensemble on the rotating stage, circling around Aaron Burr, the main antagonist of the story who begins to narrate. All the cast begins to sing, lined up with piercing bright spotlights shining on their faces.  Near the end of the very first song, a man climbs up the highest structure on the stage and announces to the audience that he is Alexander Hamilton, the immigrant, the orphan, the founding father who no one talked about. As the song reaches the climax, we begin to learn about him and the impact he had on all of the other characters, big, small, weak or deadly.      

As the story ensues, the ensemble narrates the story with their dance and their movements that underlie the big picture. The lighting dims and weakens at certain moments, allowing the soft light to create an atmosphere of sadness, betrayal, and loss. The cast carries the story with their songs, their beautiful voices creating a perfect medley with the evolution of Hamilton and all his friends and foes as they endure the American revolution and the founding their new nation. The lyrics of the songs are quick-witted, heartfelt, dramatic, intense, filled with pain, love, ache and most importantly the big question everyone is asking Hamilton; Why do you write like you are running out of time?  

The story begins to wrap up, the second act taking a sharp and darker tone. Hamilton’s personal life and career as Secretary of Treasury begin to collapse, his own self-becoming his greatest enemy. The lighting and dance become more sober, bleak, the stage is flooded in shades of red; anger and blue; sadness and quiet desperation. As he is faced in a duel with Aaron Burr, his first friend, his enemy, over a long-running dispute and as the fatal bullet that ends his life flies towards him, he contemplates his life, how his ego and insecurity battled with his immaculate knowledge and knack for writing. He takes in how he betrayed his wife, watched his son die at a duel only three years before, lose his job, ruin his reputation and worst of all let Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, his political foes ruin his legacy and all the hard work he had done for the country. He had stood up against slavery, created the first national bank and all the currency and dealings of money we know today.   

At that moment, his life flashing before his eyes, the scene freezes. The ensemble. Burr. He thinks about his wife and the years of hurt he caused her. He thinks about his legacy, the seeds he had left to either wither or blossom.  He thinks about those he will see again, his son, George Washington, his beloved mother who had died when he was only twelve.  The beat drops out, it’s only Hamilton’s heartfelt voice, the stage is silent, only his words echoing off the room.Then suddenly the scene unfreezes, the ensemble moves into action and at that moment the bullet penetrates Hamilton’s skin.  Hamilton held his pistol in the air but it is too late.Burr watches in agony at his hasty action and the theme becomes sober once more. Aaron Burr becomes the story’s villain, tainted by his act of rage and long kept jealousy.The cast begins the last song, Eliza, Hamilton’s loving and dedicated wife who stood behind him through all his terrible and intelligent decisions, her voice beautifully echoing through the audience. She describes how she worked to preserve her husband’s fractured legacy and through all this the ensemble dances in a way of sadness and remembrance. The song shows Hamilton’s impact on all the people he has scattered past through his life.

The play ends in a gorgeous way, the cast’s various symphonic voices merging in a deep way. The lights blend to bath the cast in a cascade of bright lights. The crowd claps, the ensemble standing spotted the main characters.The lights fizzle out.The song decrescendos into a peaceful silence.