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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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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6 Ways To Decorate Your Dorm Or Apartment For The Holidays On A Budget

Baby, it's cold outside.

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As the holiday season approaches, it's easy to get sucked into the Pinterest vortex of holiday decorations, party favors, clothes and more. Unfortunately most of us college students don't have the money for all of this cute stuff so we have to watch for bargains or DIY it. Here are my six recommendations to get into the Christmas spirit:

1. String some festive lights in your room

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199565827208188172/

I have Christmas lights hanging up in my room all year around because I love them so much, but you can find some cheap lights at Target or Walmart. You can get snowflake lights, lantern lights, normal Christmas lights or anything else that you want. Use command strips to hang them up, and soon it'll feel more relaxing and you'll be more in the Christmas spirit.

2. Use window clings

https://guide.alibaba.com/shop/merry-christmas-window-clings-north-pole-train-snowflakes-penguins-gingerbread-men-1-sheet-15-clings_1005699551.html

I love window clings! You stick them on from the inside (obviously) and then you can see them from the outside. I have different window clings for almost every season. If you have some old window clings that don't stick anymore, just put a little bit of water on the back of them and they'll stick like they're brand new.

3. Raid the Target dollar section

https://corporate.target.com/article/2015/11/bullseyes-playground

So, this depends on where you live and how often your local Target changes out their dollar section, but you would be surprised in what you could find there!

4. Hunt around for a mini tree (real or fake)

https://www.yourbestdigs.com/reviews/best-artificial-christmas-trees/?nabt=1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

I used to have a fake little green Christmas tree with cute little ornaments but sadly I don't have it anymore nor do I have room for it anywhere in my room. A little Christmas tree in your room or on your dresser just makes everything a little bit more festive. I used to have my little Christmas tree on my dresser until my cat found it. Yeah, you know where that is going.

5. Make easy DIY decorations

http://findinghomefarms.com/10-minute-christmas-decorating-idea-chalk-pen-galvanized-buckets/

Pinterest is the best website for this, well actually they're known for DIY projects. Why spend $50 on one Christmas decoration when you can do a DIY and spend only $20?

6. Use Winter themed candles

http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/e/christmas-gift-guide.html

I love Bath and Body works because they always have the best sales and you can usually get something half priced or sometimes something for free! Plus everything smells so good in that store and it's so tempting to buy everything but if you come into the store with a goal, you'll leave with your goal.

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