These days, scoring a ticket to “Hamilton” is akin to winning the lottery — literally, if you manage to win the ticket lotto held every day for front row seats — and not everyone is lucky enough to see the show live.
Until we get a televised musical performance of this show, most fans will just have to wait and wonder what they’re missing by only listening to the cast album.
Zap2it was lucky enough to score one of those ever-elusive tickets to see “Hamilton” on Broadway, so naturally, we’re going to break it down for those of you who aren’t able to be there in person. If you’d rather not know details about staging, performances or cut scenes, then be warned, there are spoilers below.
The turntable stage will blow your mind
The stage of “Hamilton” is a feat of pure genius, with two concentric turntables taking up the majority of the floor space. These spinning circles move characters on and off stage and make dance numbers more dynamic, but their best use comes during “10 Duel Commandments.” The scene would already be exciting on its own, but having the two dueling character circling each other on the moving stage ramps it up to insane levels.
Jonathon Groff makes the most of his eight minutes
King George spends a cumulative eight minutes on stage, but Jonathon Groff’s performance lends credence to the saying, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Whether he’s bopping along to his own sarcastic love ballad or using finger quotes when describing the America as a “country,” Groff knows how to turn a small character into a showpiece.
John Laurens’ death is the only cut scene from the album
The entire musical from start to finish is included in the Original Broadway Cast Album, except for one single scene. Between the songs “Dear Theodosia” and “Non-Stop,” Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) receives a letter from Laurens’ (Anthony Ramos) father explaining that Laurens has died in a post-peace gunfight in South Carolina. Laurens sings a melancholy reprise of “Story of Tonight” as the letter details his passing.
You’ll still be wondering, ‘But where’s Peggy?’
If you hope to finally figure out where the heck Peggy (Jasmine Cephas Jones) disappears to when you see the show on stage, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Home girl pretty much evaporates after Hamilton and Eliza’s wedding, but it’s hard to be too bothered when Maria Reynolds takes her place. We could listen to a full hour of Jones’ seductive crooning.
Philip’s death is way more upsetting than you’d expect
If you don’t frequently sob while listening to the song depicting the death of Hamilton’s son, Philip (Anthony Ramos), just wait until you see it on stage. After Philip breathes his last breath, leaving Eliza (Phillipa Soo) to finish the song alone, his mother lets out a scream of anguish at her son’s death that is not included in the soundtrack recording. Chills.
Daveed Diggs steals the show
Whether he’s rapping as quickly as physically possibly in “Guns and Ships” or delivering one of several hilarious digs at Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.), Daveed Diggs has the entire audience on the edge of their seats every time he opens his mouth. You can practically feel the room collectively sit up straighter, thinking, “Oh, this is going to be good” each time he walks on stage.
King George pulls up a seat to watch Hamilton’s demise
During the last half of Act II, Hamilton’s sex scandal causes major drama in New York City, and no one is more eager to watch it all go down than King George. After singing about how fun it will be to watch Americans “tear each other into pieces,” he orders a chair to be brought out so he can sit and watch the whole thing implode. He returns later to taunt Hamilton in “The Reynolds Pamphlet.”
Hamilton quite literally drops the F-bomb
The only censored curse word of the show occurs during “The Adams Administration,” when Hamilton claps back at John Adams with a succinct, “Sit down, John, you fat motherfucker!” The line is delivered from the center balcony, as Hamilton drops a stack of papers – most likely containing the rap tirade against Adams that was cut from the show – that lands with a loud thunk as the curse word is bleeped out.
Javier Munoz is a phenomenal Hamilton
You might want to stamp your feet and throw a toddler tantrum if you end up seeing the show on a night that Lin-Manuel Miranda takes time off, but that urge will be long gone halfway through Act I. Javier Munoz doesn’t quite have the same spunk Miranda brings to the role of Hamilton, but he certainly has the pipes. By the time you reach “Hurricane,” you’ll be wondering why a second version of the soundtrack with Munoz’s take on the character was never released.
The show ends not with a bang but with a gasp
The sweet and soulful tribute to Eliza Hamilton that ends the show is a beautiful piece of music, but while it fades out to silence on the album, on stage it ends with an emotional gasp. As she reunites with her husband in the afterlife, Hamilton takes her hand and ushers her into heaven, where she gasps with joy and awe at the sight of paradise.