Hamilton Chicago: A Review

Hamilton Chicago: A Review

Having been lucky enough to see Hamilton in Chicago twice, I share my very strong opinions on this cast.
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I was lucky enough to be able to fly to Chicago this past weekend to see the incredible cast of their production of Hamilton. Having seen the show in New York more than a few times, I felt very strongly about the casting choices in Chicago and haven't been able to stop talking about them since I got home. These are my thoughts about each actor in their respective roles.

Miguel Cervantes (Alexander Hamilton)

I must admit, I went into the show with relatively low expectations for him. From what I had seen and heard, he wasn't anything special. Boy was I wrong. Cervantes' charisma on that stage is palpable, and his portrayal honestly reminded me of that of original cast member Lin-Manuel Miranda, which is really saying something, especially coming from me. His voice is great, his energy is infectious, and he makes you truly believe that he is young, scrappy, and hungry.

Joseph Morales (Hamilton alternate)

I was lucky enough to see the show twice on my trip, once with the original cast and once with Joseph Morales as Hamilton. In my opinion, his portrayal ranks only slightly below that of Cervantes. Morales' acting started a bit stiff and awkward for me but by the fourth song or so, I was sold. He's the youngest looking Hamilton I've seen which really gave him that youthful energy that Hamilton is so well known for, and I really enjoyed seeing him portrayed that way.

Joshua Henry (Aaron Burr)

I've had the honor (pun intended) of seeing quite a few talented Burrs, all very different in their portrayals. But Henry's definitely stands out to me as the most intense. From the moment he takes the stage and speaks the first lines of the show, the look in his eyes and urgency in his voice is present. He makes an extremely relatable Burr, one I found myself laughing with and crying with by the end of the show.

Ari Afsar (Eliza Schuyler-Hamilton)

She is another who I went in with low expectations of. I try not to form opinions based upon what I hear before I actually experience an actor in a role, but there was a lot of negativity surrounding Afsar's performance that I couldn't help but listen to. However, that completely changed when I saw her. She's is an incredibly charming and sweet Eliza, with a huge smile on her face from the moment she steps onstage. What really sold me on her portrayal, though, was her character development. The difference in Afsar's Eliza between Helpless and Burn was breathtaking, and truly unlike anything I've seen from any other Eliza.

Karen Olivo (Angelica Schuyler)

I can't say enough about Karen Olivo. She was made for this role. Everything from the intensity of her acting, to her rich and controlled voice, to her unparalleled signature Angelica sass, was spot on. Seeing her in this role just made sense. It was like I was watching Angelica Schuyler on that stage, no questions asked. I will sing Olivo's praises in this role for the rest of my life.

Jonathan Kirkland (George Washington)

The praises had to stop sometime. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing glaringly bad about Kirkland's performance. His presence was there 100%, although that could just be due to his height, especially next to Cervantes who is just over five feet tall. I was not completely sold on his voice for this role, however. The man undoubtedly has talent but the tone of his voice didn't carry the same strength and power as Washingtons I've seen in the past. That being said, the physical portrayal is there, his acting is strong, and he definitely looks the part.

Chris Lee (Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson)

Lee was undoubtedly a standout to me in this production. Having seen some not-so-great portrayals of this track in New York following the departure of original cast member Daveed Diggs, I was beginning to lose hope. Lee restored that hope. He has so much energy and charisma, and he's the first person I've seen who can rap Guns and Ships even remotely closely to how Diggs does. He makes the role his own, and doesn't try to copy anyone else's portrayal. Overall, he is one of my favorites in the cast by far.

Jose Ramos (John Laurens/Philip Hamilton)

Is it a pre-requisite that all Laurens/Philips are the cutest people in the cast? Ramos is adorable, he makes a lovable Laurens and believably naive Philip. His passion is there, and he balances the lovability with the intensity required for both sides of the track. I found myself really routing for both his Laurens and his Philip, even though I knew how both stories would end.

Wallace Smith (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison)

I was very excited to see Smith in this role, having seen him play Enjolras in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables multiple times a couple of years ago. His voice was just as strong and unique as I had remembered, and absolutely perfect for Mulligan and Madison. His Mulligan was slightly more subued than that of original cast member Okieriete Onaodowan, but his Madison was perfectly stoic and an ideal match for Chris Lee's Jefferson.

Samantha Ware (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds)

Ware's Peggy was a bit more strong-willed and persistant, and less cutesy than others I have seen, but it worked for her. I enjoyed seeing a Peggy with a bit more substance and strength, rather than watching her get unapologetically pushed aside. Samantha's portrayal of Maria oozed sex appeal, as she should. She is an ideal seductress and made Hamilton's defeated willpower in Say No To This definitely believable.

Alexander Gemignani (King George III)

What a refreshing take on this role! Having only seen the Broadway portrayals of King George, I was so used to seeing the same thing over and over again. I had become bored of this character and his repetitive songs. Gemignani's George was entirely different. He made the role his own, added some new quirks that were very fun to see for the first time, and actually made me look forward to his three songs both times I saw the production.

Cover Image Credit: Playbill.com

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"

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This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.

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Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.

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Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.

3.Bunnicula

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You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

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You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

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The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

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You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

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The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

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The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

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This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

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Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

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You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

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Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.

14.Go-Gurt

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Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

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Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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