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Hip-hop musical 'Hamilton' is the best play you can't see

"Hamilton"Joan Marcus

Women: Please stop dragging your husbands to sold-out shows they don’t want to see. Take “Hamilton,” the outstanding new hip-hop musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In the Heights”) about Alexander Hamilton. The show just opened on Tuesday at the Public Theater, but it’s already been extended three times (now through May 3). And all of those additional tickets are sold out.

In a theater with no empty seats, it’s really hard to sit next to the grump who says he “doesn’t get it” and seems like he’d rather be home watching ESPN. You see, ladies, there are hundreds of people who would duel it out with pistols for that Row L center seat, and you just had to go ahead and waste it on your husband, who “can’t understand” the foreign language of “rap.” He might prefer a snooze in the lobby.

Here’s why “Hamilton” is causing such a tremendous fuss: It’s absolutely the best thing onstage right now in New York City. Working from the biography by Ron Chernow, Miranda turns the oft-overlooked founding father into an accessible protagonist who’s consumed by his passion for justice and desperate to leave behind a legacy. Like “Heights,” it succeeds in its transparency and honesty; it does best when Miranda is sharing his own life experience through the quick and complex lyrics. Hamilton and Miranda share the same immigrant background, big mouth and fervor for getting their truths out. Obviously, it makes sense that Miranda also stars in the titular role – and it’s his best performance to date.

The cast also includes Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr) and Christopher Jackson (George Washington), though songbird Phillipa Soo and an especially waggish Brian D’Arcy James arguably steal the show as Eliza Hamilton and King George, respectively. The costumes nod to 1776, and the set is extremely simple, with a rotating floor and horseshoe balcony. The restraint wisely places the emphasis on the story and the words, and it also screams “affordable” and “transportable.”

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And that’s great, because even though you and your husband might have completely ruined someone’s season by denying them the year’s greatest show, it’s only delayed gratification. There’s every chance this musical will be storming Broadway, and it will probably run long enough for everyone to see it eventually. Even when that happens, though, please do the world a favor and leave your stodgy, ungrateful husband at home.


"Hamilton"
Through May 3
The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St.
Tickets (current run sold out)

 
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