Hamilton: A brilliant retrospective

The award-winning musical stuns the audience.


Stephanie Arreola

Stage hands check the set for the SF production of “Hamilton” during intermission on Aug. 25.

Stephanie Arreola, Staff Writer

“Hamilton: An American Musical” has stolen the hearts of thousands of fans across the country. And the show did it again on Aug. 25 to an appreciative audience who were starved of live theater during the global pandemic. 

“Hamilton,” written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, was based on a 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton written by Ron Chernow. With over a billion dollars in sales including performances, merchandise and music, “Hamilton” earned the Best Musical award at the 2016 Tony awards. The musical is told in two acts, the first act exploring Hamilton’s teenage years until he becomes George Washington’s right-hand man, and the second act includes the Adams administration up until Hamilton’s death.

The Aug. 25 showing at the Broadway San Francisco Orpheum theater consisted of a cast of accomplished actors. Julius Thomas III, who played Hamilton, is an NAACP theatre award-nominee from Gary, Indiana. George Washington was played by Darnell Abraham, who is a regular on the show “Buffalo Rangers” and a cast member in “The Color Purple” national Broadway revival tour. Angelica Schuyler, Hamilton’s friend and sister-in-law, was played by Marja Harmon who was in the Broadway productions of “Book of Mormon,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “The Lion King” and “Aida”. 

The musical was amazing. It was a breath of fresh air during these hard times, and so many people left after the show feeling speechless and with smiles on their faces. 

The ensemble, which is the group of people dancing and singing alongside the main cast, was stunning. They were always moving and even did choreography with stage props. The skill it takes to dance and sing at the same time is immense and they delivered an incredible performance with ease. 

The main cast was mind-blowing. Not only did they have to memorize a two-hour and 45-minute musical, but they also had to sing live the whole way through. The live vocals sounded almost as if they were pre-recorded and the actors delivered them flawlessly. The atmosphere was incredible, you could feel all the hard work the actors put into every song, dance move and line. 

During the song “Satisfied,” Angelica was singing and suddenly, the music became distorted and sounded as if it was going in reverse. The ensemble began to dance in reverse and there was a pause, all the ensemble was frozen in their steps and Angelica began to sing again. The scene was powerful and one of the best scenes in the play. 

The cast executed a difficult play to perform with elegance and grace. It was an all-around great play with fun, laughter, amazing music and heartbreak all in one. It makes learning about history exciting. 

The San Francisco Orpheum had COVID-19 restrictions in place as cases are on the rise across the United States. The theater required guests to be vaccinated or come with a negative test taken within 72 hours prior to the showing. Masks were always required, except when eating or drinking. 

The showings for Hamilton at the San Francisco Orpheum theater will go on until September 2021.