Spark Arena, Mahuhu Crescent on the edge of the CBD, Auckland
26/05/2023 - 11/06/2023
Book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Direction by Thomas Kail
Choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler
Musical Supervision and Orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire
Based on the Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow
Michael Cassel Group
HAMILTON premiered on Broadway in August 2015 to wide critical and audience acclaim. The show has won Tony® , Grammy® , and Olivier Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, HAMILTON has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theatre – a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics and education.
With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography.
The HAMILTON creative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award-winning Best Musical In the Heights.
May 26 until June 11
Prices vary from $90 at Ticketmaster.co.nz
Scenic design by David Korins
Costume design by Paul Tazewell
Lighting design by Howell Binkley
Sound design by Nevin Steinberg
Hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe.
JASON ARROW Alexander Hamilton
MARTHA BERHANE Eliza Hamilton
CALLAN PURCELL Aaron Burr
AKINA EDMONDS Angelica Schuyler
MATU NGAROPO George Washington
VICTORY NDUKWE Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson
SAMI AFUNI Hercules Mulligan/James Madison
WERN MAK John Laurens/Philip Hamilton
ELANDRAH ERAMIHA Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds
BRENT HILL King George
CLAIRE ABAIJAH-GRIFFIN Ensemble
KIRRAH AMOSA Standby
KYLA BARTHOLOMEUSZ Ensemble / Dance Captain
SHEWIT BELAY Standby
JUSTIN BRYANT Swing
CELINE CLEVELAND Ensemble
OLIVIA CARNIATO Swing
LACHLAN DEARING Swing
ALEXANDER FERGUSON Standby
KEANU GONZALEZ Ensemble
WINSTON HILLYER Standby
INDIGO HUNT Swing
JULIAN KUO Swing
IOSEFA LAGA’AIA Ensemble
STEFAN LAGOULIS Ensemble
ASHTON LASH Swing / Dance Captain
HANY LEE Ensemble
ZELIA ROSE Standby
EMMY SAHEKI Swing
TREVOR SANTOS Swing
TAINGA SAVAGE Ensemble
TERRANCE SPENCER Ensemble
DAYTON TAVARES Ensemble
ROMINA VILLAFRANCA Ensemble / Director's Assistant
ZACHARY WEBSTER Swing
Musical , Theatre ,
2 hours 50 minutes
Powerhouse cast delivers Hamilton with relevancy, urgency, humour and heart
Review by Talia Carlisle 30th May 2023
Since its sold-out off-Broadway debut in 2015, it took only 8 years, 3 short months and 9 painfully slow days to reach New Zealand’s Spark Arena, but who’s counting? It’s been the buzz of the town among theatre fans for months, and brought visitors to Auckland in droves – including myself. So what was it really like to see the royals of the theatre world up close, following their recent Australian tour?
My experience at Hamilton starts like a trip to the candy store, past a mini merch mall outside Spark Arena, gourmet snacks, bright lights, and the best still to come beyond the red carpet laid out for opening night on Sunday.
Hamilton is based on an 800-page book by historian Ron Chernow about the fascinating tale of First United States’ President George Washington’s right hand man, Alexander Hamilton, which was published in 2005.
The history of this interesting character resonates through beautiful heartfelt songs and will leave you with more than you need to know about the inspiring and fearless leader that set up the political and financial systems of America that have impacted the world we live in today, even 9,000 miles away.
Once the lights dim inside, the crowd becomes absorbed in Jason Arrow’s energetic and rhythmic portrayal of Alexander Hamilton, America’s founding father and first Secretary of the Treasury, set during the Revolutionary War in the late 1700s.
Of course, what is a leading man without a leading lady? A great man needs 3 in Alexander’s case: Maria Reynolds (played by Elandrah Eramiha who also plays Peggy Schuyler), Angelica Schuyler (New Zealand’s own Akina Edmonds) and Angelica’s brave sister Eliza Schuyler-turned-Hamilton (Martha Berhane). Eliza carries her husband Alexander’s story in people’s minds (and later on the US$10 bill) for years to come.
Eliza also carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, caring for Alexander and their son Philip (the multi-talented Wern Mak) as Alexander progresses his career as scholar, military officer and congressman, yet has little time to be a father when history tells us the pair had eight children. Eliza actor Martha Berthane carries high stakes too, as this larger-than-life role marks Martha’s professional musical theatre debut, and she carries it beautifully.
My favourite thing about theatre is that it is a magical platform to escape woes, wars, and romantic troubles – yet this show fixates on all three. Creator and original Alexander actor Lin-Manuel Miranda brought this “story of America then, told by America now” to life, and our powerhouse cast carries this tale with urgency, humour and heart.
The Schuyler sisters demand their own musical sequel by my view, so strong are their performances, vocals, and buy–in from the crowd in Akina Edmonds’ home country.
George Washington, played by New Zealander Matu Ngaropo, has the crowd eating out of his palms and King George (Brent Hill) brings a tantalising relevancy and jig to the show, with his many humorous lines and Trump impressions that had my friends asking, “is he allowed to do that??”.
Relevancy is key for a story and production so well-loved and so lasting – making its own history for the books we will read for years to come. Crowd favourite Victory Ndukwe brings a delicious energy desperately required in this history class as both Marquis De Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, which sparks a well-deserved crowd frenzy upon each arrival.
Music Director and Conductor Laura Tipoki pulls off an incredible feat of catchy anthems from ‘My Shot’ to ‘The Room Where it Happens,’ and ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’ with her 9-person band that emanates around the stadium and has the person next to me dancing in their seat, mouthing all the words.
If you have always loved Hamilton, this production will grow your love deeper. If you know nothing about it, the performances, research and production will impress and intrigue all the senses and ensure your Spotify is on repeat for the next month while Hamilton’s Pullitzer, Tony and Grammy-winning score plants itself inevitably deeper into the brain.
We are so lucky to have this magnificent production in our glorious backyard for a limited season at Auckland’s Spark Arena until June 11. The venue boasts accessible seating, signed and audio described performances according to the Hamilton website, and I hope people access this show while they have a chance. My friends have already booked to go back.
Two large screens ensure every seat can see all the drama, and spotlights make it clear who is singing at each moment, even if the ensemble cast disappear into the background by contrast. But goodness they can sing and steal hearts – even for a tired cast on a Sunday, having accomplished three shows in 24 hours prior to opening night.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, you could have been anywhere in the world tonight, but you’re here with us in New York City.” George Washington welcomes us all in, for a front seat at each duel, war and into the voting booth…
This powerhouse cast delivers Hamilton with relevancy, urgency, humour and heart, and we leave after a standing ovation, taking Hamilton’s history, hoodies and fridge magnets home with us.
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