Las Vegas has been waiting, and now the time is upon us; the national tour of the Broadway smash hit Hamilton is now performing in the “entertainment capital of the world.” Opening Memorial Day weekend, the highly popular musical is performing at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts through June 24, and tickets are still available in limited quantities.
The critically acclaimed Broadway musical Hamilton: An American Musical tells the story of the life of Alexander Hamilton, who — despite many Americans’ belief — was not a U.S. president, but rather an American statesman and one of the nation’s Founding Fathers. The 2015 Broadway sensation was written by American playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda. It is based on writer, journalist, historian and biographer Ron Chernow’s 2004 New York Times best-selling historical biography of the West Indies immigrant.
Miranda, who in addition to being a playwright, is a composer, lyricist and actor — he performs the role of the Founding Father on Broadway — also created the music and lyrics for the production. It is directed by Thomas Kail; choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler; and the music supervision and orchestrations were handled by Alex Lacamoire. The musical is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater.
The Broadway spectacle, currently performing through January at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, is the 2016 winner of a near-record-setting 11 Tony Awards plus a Pulitzer Prize — one of only nine musicals ever to win. Hamilton’s recording garnered a 2016 Grammy Award, too, for best musical theater album. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, rhythm and blues, and Broadway show music, Hamilton is “the story of America then, as told by America now.”
The musical began its off-Broadway run in New York City’s The Public Theater in February 2015. From that run — which, again, starred Miranda in the role of Hamilton — it won eight 2015 Drama Desk Awards — one was for outstanding musical — out of its 14 nominations. In August, it transitioned onto Broadway where it continues a highly successful run, experiencing unprecedented advance ticket sales.
An interesting side note: This isn’t the first stage play created about Hamilton’s life. In 1917, English actor, playwright, filmmaker and author George Arliss co-wrote and performed the starring role onstage in a Broadway production about this self-made man. He later reprised the role in the 1931 feature film adaptation. Arliss was the first British actor, and the earliest born, to win an Academy Award.
A character of interest in historical fiction, perhaps due to his ability to rise well above his meager beginnings as an illegitimate-born immigrant, Hamilton rose to become a U.S. Army military leader, lawyer, judge, economist, journalist, political scientist and government official.
Considered one of the most sought-after advisers of U.S. presidents, especially George Washington, he was the nation’s first secretary of treasury, a role he held for six years. During his last year serving in that capacity, he saw his proposal for the creation of the United States Mint come to fruition. He also established the first national bank in New York.