Anyone in the vicinity of the Pantages Theatre on Wednesday afternoon got the message, big time: the “Hamilton” juggernaut has hit Southern California.
Hours before the monster-hit musical’s official local debut, its creator and Broadway leading man, Lin-Manuel Miranda, sang for a huge, excited crowd in front of the venue in what’s called #Ham4Ham, a ticket lottery and impromptu performance that’s been a regular feature of the show. The line-up for the event reportedly stretched past the Capitol Records building, and the LAPD briefly closed down Hollywood Boulevard. Ticket sales for the musical’s L.A. run have already surpassed the totals it rang up in San Francisco, where it was also wildly popular.
Of course, “Hamilton’s” fame has been building for years: a viral 2009 YouTube video of Miranda performing the title song at the White House; Michelle Obama’s declaration that the show is “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life,” 11 Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy; its well-documented interaction with Trump-era politics.
For those who have followed but never seen “Hamilton,” the yoke of hype has gotten extremely heavy. How could it meet such lofty expectations?
Wednesday’s show pulverized any doubts in anyone in the audience might have had about “Hamilton’s” unique strengths. But what’s really remarkable about this show is that it succeeds not by satisfying musical theater’s age-old conventions, but by defying many of them.
It’s dense – by far the wordiest major Broadway musical ever. It’s about one of our nation’s lesser…