It’s a moment only those in the room could explain — a loud, thumpy bass known well as the opening song kicks in, followed by a shadowy figure that darkens the wood structured stage as the first character, Aaron Burr, walks in and hits the spotlight.
That’s what it’s like to experience the very first moments of the famous Broadway musical “Hamilton”, which finally came to Reno from Nov. 3 to Nov. 14. The show’s arrival to Reno has been raved about ever since the And Peggy tour’s announcement in June.
An opening-night roar filled the room as the main character, Alexander Hamilton, played by Julius Thomas III, was introduced.
Watching Hamilton in person is a very different experience in comparison to watching it on the Disney+ original cast movie, which was released on July 4, 2020. It’s rare to get the shockingly important and unforgettable performance that Hamilton provides in person and it is one everyone should experience.
Hamilton is pieced together with a packed cast, massive stage production and a live band that could be seen in the pit. Luckily, Reno’s famous Pioneer Center housed the production for its 10 day run—an experience Reno residents could have only previously seen if they took a drive to San Francisco or booked a flight to New York.
One of the brightest highlights of this production surprisingly came from the ensemble cast. It’s a unique sight to watch them do their work. They all perform in a synchronized flow, unbroken and oftentimes doing dance moves or stances that appear impossible.
One specific cast member, Kevin Murakami, brings a spotlight to his own performance, shining out and presenting grand levels of excitement, enthusiasm and engagement many in the audience were connected with.
The play showed a transition from ensemble to George Eacker for two songs in the second act. The actors’ and actresses’ amount of understanding and hard work is easily reflected in their grand and engaging performance throughout.
Donald Webber, Jr., who plays Aaron Burr, brings an emotional take to his character. Built off love and heart with an occasional hint of lust, Burr may come across as contradictory to his performance, but his acting is still enriching.
Ashley De La Rosa also brings endless levels of harmony and perfection to her characters Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds, despite having little stage time.
The disadvantages of this production of Hamilton becomes present in the live audio quality and mix played specifically at the Pioneer Center. For example, these disadvantages are presented through occasional overachieving and reacting from certain performers, as well as the prioritization of anger or sadness over vocality in many essential songs. Though this may not be a huge factor to first-time goers, it creates a very different experience to those who have previously seen the show in another location. Whether you’d prefer this new presentation would be subjective to each individual person.
While the Reno production of Hamilton couldn’t master certain aspects, its presentation is much more than enough to be left satisfied.
The odds of getting an official production of this show in Reno was small and the fact that it arrived is absolutely outstanding. Those that have seen Hamilton in larger cities and states, should ground their expectations before going in. Those who are new to the show should prepare for the time of their lives.
There is no reason to say no to an opportunity or ticket to see Hamilton. If you’re ever given the chance to see a performance, you absolutely should say yes and enjoy every second of its marvelous two hours and forty minutes.
Gabe Kanae can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.