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Hamilton’s a rapid-fire history lesson that delights – The Australian Jewish News

Musical: Hamilton
Reviewer: Danny Gocs
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

FOLLOWING a successful Sydney season, the hit musical Hamilton opened its Melbourne season at Her Majesty’s Theatre with as much hype as the recent blockbuster shows, The Book of Mormon and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

This production, which takes the audience on a rapid-fire journey through early American history using rap, rhyme, hip-hop, jazz, rhythm and blues, certainly lives up to the promise.

Hamilton premiered on Broadway in 2015 and won Tony, Grammy and Olivier Awards. The story, music and lyrics were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton.

Most Australians would not know much about Hamilton, a penniless immigrant orphan from the Caribbean who rose to become one of the seven Founding Fathers of the US. He served as military secretary to George Washington, America’s first president who led the Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War.

Hamilton, who helped draft the US constitution, was a complex character who had charisma, intellect and driving ambition.

Chloe Zuel and Jason Arrow star in Hamilton. Photo: Daniel Boud

The Australian stage production has 36 performers led by Jason Arrow in the title role, along with Chloe Zuel as Eliza Hamilton (although on opening night Tigist Strode played the role), Lyndon Watts as Aaron Burr, Matu Ngaropo as Washington, and Victory Ndukwe as both the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. Brent Hill plays mad King George III as a cartoon-like character and was an audience favourite.

While Hamilton has a rapid rise under Washington, he has a falling out with young revolutionary Burr and a further fall from grace after a sex scandal. Hamilton ultimately died in a duel with Burr, who had risen to become US vice president.

Burr sings one of the musical’s most powerful numbers, The Room Where It Happens.

Arrow is the star of the show with his strong vocals and non-stop energy, with commanding performances by Ngaropo as Washington and Watts as Burr.

The fast-moving and finely choreographed dance routines are a highlight of this must-see production.

Hamilton is at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne. Bookings:

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