Want to be in the room where it happens? Tickets for the current Ohio premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2015 Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Hamilton” in Cleveland are still available in its final week, which concludes Sunday, Aug. 26 at Playhouse Square.
However, if Cleveland isn’t on your agenda, you’ll still have plenty of time to catch the megahit toward the middle of this season in Columbus (Jan. 29-Feb. 17, 2019 at the Ohio Theatre) and Cincinnati (Feb. 19-March 10, 2019 at the Aronoff Center).
Here’s what you need to know as this must-see production visits Ohio.
THIS IS A HISTORIC TALE WITH TIMELY RELEVANCE
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Based on Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the dazzling musical chronicles Hamilton’s legacy with savvy awareness that he was an immigrant, a relevant topic in today’s political discourse.
Orphaned in the West Indies but rising to become George Washington’s influential sidekick during the Revolutionary War and ultimately serve as the country’s first Treasury Secretary, Hamilton’s success and perseverance is essentially a mirror to what one can achieve within their pursuit of the American Dream.
“When you watch ‘Hamilton,’ history isn’t a stodgy set of facts on a textbook page,” said Genevieve Holt, general manager of Broadway in Cincinnati. “It’s visceral and alive, thrilling and heartbreaking. ‘Hamilton’ is just a great show. It’s incredibly well-written, tells a very compelling true story, and illuminates details about our country’s history many of us may not have known. Combine all that with incredible music that pulls from many different modern genres and some astounding choreography courtesy of Cincinnatian Andy Blankenbuehler, and you’ve got a really exciting show.”
THIS SHOW HAS GROUNDBREAKING CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
A pure pop culture phenomenon, “Hamilton” completely flipped the script within the musical theater realm. Specifically, it fully embraced the idea of non-traditional casting with its refreshingly diverse use of African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Indian actors in principal roles to universalize a story of 18th century America.
Through the power of imagination and the particularly pulsating infusion of hip-hop, the show provides a bold new standard for what contemporary musical theater can aspire to in the 21st century. In fact, in a historic first, this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, slated for December, will recognize Miranda, director Thomas Kail, the aforementioned Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire with a special Honors as “trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category.”
TOUR BRINGS HUGE ECONOMIC IMPACT
Our neighbors in the Queen City anticipate the financial impact “Hamilton” will bring. Dayton audiences are well aware how profitable lengthy tours of “Wicked,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Lion King” have been in past seasons, and “Hamilton” is expected to surpass those blockbusters.
“One of the most exciting things about ‘Hamilton’ is its broad appeal,” Holt said. “Broadway die-hards love it, but so do people who have never stepped foot in a Broadway theater or people who don’t traditionally like musicals. So we are very excited to welcome a lot of new theatergoers for this show. Economically, a Broadway League study has indicated that for every dollar spent on a Broadway in Cincinnati ticket, we generate 3.3 times that in local economic impact. For the 2018-2019 season, that equated to more than $66 million. So for a show like ‘Hamilton,’ which is sure to sell very well, that will be a positive economic influence.”
JOIN THE ECLUB FOR TICKET UPDATES
New season subscriptions for the Broadway in Columbus and Broadway in Cincinnati Series are not available, but the best plan of action is to sign up for the free eCLUB mail list at columbus.broadway.com or cincinnati.broadway.com. You’ll be e-mailed notices as to when single tickets will go on sale, which will most likely be closer to the time of each engagement.
“We are beyond thrilled to be hosting the touring production of ‘Hamilton’ in Cincinnati,” Holt said. “This show has a buzz around it that I’ve never seen before for a Broadway production, and we can’t wait for local audiences to get to experience it. Securing this engagement has been several years in the works. Broadway Across America’s booking department in New York works closely with the producers of the tours to coordinate tour and theater availability. With ‘Hamilton,’ we let the show know early on that we were interested in having it here, and we all worked to make it happen.
“Columbus and Cleveland are both fantastic Broadway markets with huge audience bases and enthusiasm for theater. We often have some of the same shows on our seasons, and I’m very proud that three cities in Ohio get to boast having their premiere engagements of ‘Hamilton’ so early in its tour. It’s nationally known that Ohio has some of the most loyal and largest Broadway touring audiences in the country. Dayton is a big part of that reputation as well.”
SO... WHEN IS ‘HAMILTON’ COMING TO DAYTON?
Don’t fret. Be patient. By now you know the drill. It’s going to take a while before Dayton can boast having “Hamilton” in our back yard, but the show is definitely on our radar. “‘Hamilton’ is, of course, tremendous,” said Ken Neufeld, the retiring president and CEO of Victoria Theatre Association. “I’ve had the privilege of seeing it twice and can’t say enough about how transformative it is for the entire musical theater industry. ‘Hamilton’ is attracting a whole new audience to the theater and all over the country.
“Performing arts centers like ours are welcoming these new people in droves to their venues. VTA’s Programming Team has been in conversation with the producers and the booking agent for ‘Hamilton’ for some time now and is advocating hard to confirm dates for a Dayton engagement. We can’t release any information at this time, but as soon as we can, we will let everyone know.”