Hamilton: An American Musical Coming to Portland

Mel Hanby, Reporter

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Do you have anything on your bucket list that is just out of reach? It’s not completely impossible, but you don’t expect to ever get it. For me, I wanted to see the smash Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical. The play took the world by storm in 2016, winning 11 Tony awards (the Oscars of theater). It’s no wonder that people were surprised at this. The show, written by Lin Manuel Miranda, tells the story of the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s Founding Fathers and the creator of the US Treasury. The twist? Miranda uses rap and hip hop dance as his choice method of sharing US history lessons. Between Revolutionary War battles, a love story (sultry affair included), political drama, and modern humor and art, the show has something for everyone. When was the last like you heard Thomas Jefferson say “f***”? Never? Try listening to the song “Washington On Your Side”. How about the last time you cried over a lawyer getting shot by a vice president? Listen to the whole play (it is on YouTube). As its fame grew, even people who had no interest in theater or US history began pursuing the album.

I fell in love with the play last year, but was convinced that there was no way for me to ever see it. The original broadway cast retired from the show in 2016, and tickets in Chicago were upwards $800. As the play moved around the US, I watched the ticket prices from state to state. As the companies traveled west, the prices generally went down, but were still too much for me. $600 in Dever. $400 in Salt Lake City. Even $200 in Seattle plus the drive seemed too far away. Turns out, my family in Washington won a lottery and got tickets for me and my cousin for only $50.

On March 17th I saw the most amazing show I’ve ever seen in my life. You don’t have to be a seasoned theater-goer to enjoy a play. The actors, the music, and the dance is ample to pull any audience in and throw them into the shoes of an immigrant from the South Caribbean trying to make a nation for himself and others that is strong enough to last for us today. Through the laughing, the crying, and holding my breath in anticipation, I spent two hours and forty minutes in pure joy.

Now, Hamilton is gearing up for its March 20th-April 8th run at the Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. Tickets at the cheaper end are $175, but if that is too much, there is a lottery giving away tickets for $10 a seat. All performances of Hamilton have lottery giveaways, and Portland is no exception. Forty tickets are available for every performance. The lotteries begin two days before each performance. There are still two weeks of shows left. Most are sold out or getting close. If you are interested in seeing the performance of a lifetime, tickets are available for purchase at Portland’5 website and the lottery entry is on luckyseat.com. There’s nothing to lose if you enter and, as the play says, “You get nothing if you wait for it.”

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