Hamilton at the Pantages


Allison Alben, Copy Editor

“Alexander Hamilton, my name is Alexander Hamilton; and there’s a million things I haven’t done; but just you wait, just you wait…” These are some of the opening lyrics to one of the most famous plays in the world. Even if you live under a rock, you’re more than likely familiar with the play that took the world by storm last year, “Hamilton.” After months of sold-out Broadway shows dazzling New York, they decided to bring the play to one of Hollywood’s most famous theatres, the Pantages. I was lucky enough to get tickets to one of the sold-out shows here, and let me tell you, it was incredible.

I saw the play on “Friday the 13th,” or Oct. 13. I knew the play was incredibly famous, but my expectations were not very high walking in. I figured that it was only famous because of the story and the writers, and that I would be bored out of my mind. After I heard the comforting beep as they scanned my ticket, the very first thing I noticed was the sheer number of people there. The place was packed, and the theatre itself wasn’t even open. Another thing that shocked me were the people there; I saw some that were actually my age. I had been expecting this show to be consistent with the other plays I’ve been to: packed with old and slightly miserable people. Unfortunately, I didn’t have high hopes for the play to begin with. “Maybe it won’t be that bad,” I reasoned. “And besides, at least there will be people my age to suffer with me.” The staff handed me the program for the play, and my family and I joined the throngs of people. While I waited, I studied the glittering opulence of my surroundings, noting each gold accent that nearly blinded me when the light hit it right. “What kind of a place is this?” I whispered to my sister.

When we were finally allowed in the theatre, we located our seats and I realized that the stage was even shinier than the foyer, the bronze and gold swirls reflecting all around the seats. My seats for the show were fantastic, right in the middle section on the first floor. That way, I had a perfect view of the stage and the actors that were soon to come. ”Hamilton” was set to start at exactly 8 p.m., but five minutes later, I was almost beside myself with anticipation. And then out walked Aaron Burr.

If you don’t recognize the story of Alexander Hamilton, I highly suggest you look it up, as it is a fascinating story. I won’t spoil anything for you, but the play stayed true to the storyline and they didn’t add any useless embellishments. The chemistry between the actors was amazing, and it felt genuine. That itself is a feat to achieve. The actor who played Hamilton in my show was Ryan Vasquez, the second understudy. I don’t know exactly why, but I do know that if his acting was that incredible, imagine how amazing the actor who was originally cast would be! Personally, my favorite character was King George, played by Rory O’Malley. The song he sang was absolutely hilarious, and he was much needed comic relief in certain areas of the play. Yes, the actors were amazing, but the best part? Without a doubt, the music.

The music is definitely the most famous part of the entire play. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music and the lyrics, and the songs he came up with are unforgettable. From breakout hits like “My Shot,” and “It’s Quiet Uptown,” to more unknown songs like “The Room Where It Happens,” and either of the Cabinet Battles (those rap battles between Thomas Jefferson and Hamilton were one of the best parts of the play), the songs are pretty much guaranteed to stay stuck in your head for days.

As much of a glowing review this is, there are one or two things that I could knock off points for. First of all, those ticket prices I mentioned. While yes, I can see why people would pay that much, at some point it becomes a little ridiculous. $200 for one ticket is something that is a little outlandish to me, but maybe I’m just cheap. The second thing: I got bored. I pride myself on having a decent attention span, but the only reason I made myself stay awake was my reasoning that the tickets were stupidly expensive, and I figured I shouldn’t waste them. I’ve never been a history-buff, especially when it comes to American history, and I found myself struggling to stay awake in the second act. Yes, the actors and the music were fantastic, but when the time passed 9:45, I was ready to go, and I found myself discreetly checking my phone to see what time it would be over. The play was about two hours not including intermission, which really isn’t that long, but after an exhausting week of school, it was a little too long for me.

That said, I am still so incredibly grateful that I could experience this play, and see for myself why it was so famous. It certainly lived up to the hype. All in all, “Hamilton” earns an 8/10 with me. But be warned: If you listen to the soundtrack once, I can promise that “you’ll be back.”