Tag Archives: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Working at Southwark Playhouse

20 Jun

Working – a song cycle giving a glimpse into the life of ordinary working people in America – opened at Southwark Playhouse for a strictly limited run earlier this month. The basis for this collection of mini stories are interviews conducted in the 1970s. Add Stephen Schwartz and Lin-Manuel Miranda (amongst others) to the mix and you have a pretty solid basis for a stellar show.

Working features a cast of six established musical theatre performers: Peter Polycarpou, Dean Chisnall, Liam Tamne, Krysten Cummings, Siubhan Harrison and Gillian Bevan. They are joined by six new drama school graduates who are making their professional debuts in this production.

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There is no weak link in the cast and everyone on stage gets the chance to shine. I was particularly impressed by Peter Polycarpou’s “Fathers and Sons” and Dean Chisnall’s “Brother Tucker”. I also have to mention Gillian Bevan’s showstopping number about life as a waitress and Liam Tamne’s superb comic timing both as a delivery man and a call center agent. And special mention for Dean Chisnall’s appearance as both a golfer and a UPS man. Every scene, no matter how short, is a small highlight and I left the show with a big smile on my face because I knew I had just witnessed something very special.

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In this show you will find stories of teachers and construction workers, of waitresses and truck drivers, of firemen and housewives – Working gives America’s working community a voice. It tells the audience about their struggles, their hopes, their fears and their dreams.

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With a dazzling mix of musical styles and gripping choreography by Fabian Aloise this is a show that manages the leap between a relevant message and an entertaining night out. Working feels raw and real and beautifully honest.

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Working is running at Southwark Playhouse until July 8th 2017. For more info and to book tickets visit http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/working/.

Hamilton – Richards Rodgers Theatre, Broadway

1 Oct

Hamilton. I was convinced I would never get to see the show on Broadway. Tickets are like gold dust and no one ever wins the Hamilton lottery. Well, no one except my friend on our trip across the pond in September. Yes, that is correct – she won the Hamilton lottery and we saw the musical phenomenon, sitting in the front row for all of ten dollars each.

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Original Broadway Cast

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s piece about Alexander Hamilton has been wowing audiences ever since the show opened off-Broadway at the Public Theatre before moving to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in 2015. To be honest I feel like this show has been talked about so much already there really is no need for yet another review. Plus I could sum up my views in one word: Masterpiece.

However, I do want to share a few thoughts on the show now that I have actually seen it and not just listened to the score on repeat.

First of all, the staging is pure genius. It is surprisingly simple yet so very effective. Then you have the choreography that quite literally blows your mind. I caught myself sitting there with my mouth open desperately trying to take it all in and failing miserably. Things happen left, right and centre and all the while the most incredible cast delivers Lin-Manuel Miranda’s clever and witty lyrics. Usually I like to go into a new show unbiased, with little to no spoilers. In the case of Hamilton I knew the score inside out. And on this occasion that worked to my advantage. It is a word-heavy show and lyrics are delivered fast. I am convinced I would have missed important bits of the narrative if I had not known the score. Plus this gave me the chance to pay attention to everything else – lighting, choreography, the amazing dancers.

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Original Broadway Cast

Most of the original cast had already left when I saw the show but I can honestly say that did not affect my enjoyment one bit. Javier Munoz (formerly Lin-Manuel Miranda’s alternate) gives the performance of a lifetime as Hamilton. He commands the stage. And that voice – a pure pleasure to listen to.
Brandon Victor Dixon’s Aaron Burr is outstanding. The same goes for Mandy Gonzalez‘ Angelica Schuyler, Lexi Lawson’s Eliza Schuyler, Anthony Ramos‘ John Laurens/Philip Hamilton, Okieriete Onaodowan’s Hercules Mulligan/James Madison and Nicholas Christopher’s (understudy) George Washington. Then there’s Rory O’Malley’s hilarious King George – a true show stopper. Andrew Chappelle’s Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson is impressive even though he was the only one I struggled to understand at one point. But if you are familiar with the score you probably know that some of those lyrics have to be delivered at ridiculous speed. A special mention goes to Thayne Jasperson who is such an outstanding dancer I could hardly take my eyes off him.

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Javier Munoz as Alexander Hamilton

 

I will openly admit I was afraid Hamilton would end up being a slight disappointment simply because my expectations were so high. This show has been hyped to the roof and I was almost convinced it would never live up to said hype. I was wrong. That day I left the theatre both speechless and inspired and with the knowledge should I never get to see a musical ever again it would be alright. Because there is no way I am ever going to see a show again that will come close to Hamilton anyway. This is what perfection looks like – simple as that.

Shows like this come around maybe once in every generation. So when Hamilton opens at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London in 2017 you better go check it out.

„Look around, look around how lucky we are to be alive right now“ should be every London theatre fan’s catch phrase because you will get the chance to watch Hamilton. „Just you wait“.