Odds are, you already know exactly what the show’s about. You’ve probably listened to the cast album. Maybe you’ve even ventured to Chicago (or New York … or Los Angeles … or London) to see it live. So we aren’t going to bother giving you a run-down of the show’s plot here. Instead, we’re sharing what to expect from the musical’s Marcus Center run.
1. There’s going to be a crowd.
Prepare for it. Embrace it. Become one with it. We arrived about half an hour before the show was slated to begin and were glad we did. A small army of security guards, docents and other Marcus Center staffers kept the ticket-holders moving through security at a steady clip. And we had plenty of time to buy drinks and make pre-show restroom runs before the lights went down. But we wouldn’t recommend rolling into the theater just a few minutes before curtain call – you might find yourself fumbling to find your seat in the dark during the opening bars of “Alexander Hamilton.”
2. Don’t expect to snap pics with the actors backstage.
Or at all. The Marcus Center is asking audiences to refrain from whipping out their phones and cameras during or before the performance. If you save your program, you can ask someone to take a photo of you holding it in front of the venue after the show.
3. The set design is revolutionary.
Literally. The floor spins, giving the otherwise restrained set design – which features lots of realistically rendered brick and scaffolding – plenty of visual interest. And it proves especially effective in songs like “Hurricane,” which sees Joseph Morales (Alexander Hamilton) spinning around the stage while his life flashes before his eyes.
4. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. won’t be palling around on stage.
But you knew that already, right? The Broadway cast is busy, you know, acting in the Broadway version of the play (and Miranda and Odom Jr. left it a long time ago, anyway). That being said, we found the touring cast to be uniformly excellent. And we were pleasantly surprised by many of the decisions the actors made. Warren Egypt Franklin (Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayettte) played his roles more comedically than others might have, to great effect. Nik Walker let Aaron Burr’s raw and sometimes desperate ambition show more than Odom Jr. did. And Marcus Choi managed to simultaneously convey George Washington’s strength and sensitivity. It was satisfying to see those actors, and the rest of the cast, really make their roles their own.
5. The show is just as impressive in person as you hoped it’d be.
Listening to a cast record is no substitute for experiencing a show live. And from the moments the lights go up to the end of the finale, you’ll likely be on the edge of your seat.
How lucky we are to be alive right now indeed.