"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Tonys Follow-up


      If you didn't catch the Tony Awards last Sunday, here are the results.
 Hamilton, an American Musical won in the following catagories:

Best Musical
Best Original Score for a musical..Lin-Manuel Miranda
Best Choreography..Andy Blankenbuehler
Best Book of a musical..Lin-Manuel Miranda
Best performance by actor in a leading role..Leslie Odom, Jr. (Burr)
Best performance by actress in leading role..Renee-Elise Goldsberry (Angelica)
Best performance by actor in a featured role..Daveed Diggs (Lafayette/Jefferson)
Best lighting design in a musical..Howell Binkley
Best costume design in a musical..Paul Tazewell
Best Director in a musical ..Thomas Kail

     So....we didn't do too badly. The Hamilton group did three numbers; an opening farce on their own opening number, The Battle of Yorktown, and The Schuyler Sisters (otherwise known as The Greatest City in the World) to close the show.  Abbey and I loved every minute of it and have watched the Yorktown and Schuyler Sisters number numerous times on YouTube since then. That's Daveed as T. Jefferson in the purple velvet below; a rock-star if there ever was one.

     One of the things I love most about this show, and the actors who are involved in it, is that no one tries to grab the spotlight. Every one of them continually spreads the love and credit around, repeating over and over that this is team effort and every part is not just important but vital to the show's success.  The ensemble dancers are unbelievable. They are doing intense dance moves almost the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes AND are singing in big, big voices while they dance, AND they are moving the stage props around all that time as well.    
      The lead actors play single roles throughout the play: Lin-Manuel Miranda is A. Hamilton, Christopher Jackson is Gen. Washington, Leslie Odom, Jr. is A. Burr, Renee-Elise Goldsberry plays Angelica Schuyler Church, and Phillippa Soo plays Eliza Schuyler Hamilton. However, the featured actors play double roles: Daveed Diggs plays both Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. Oak Onaodowan plays Hercules Mulligan and James Madison, Jasmine Cephas-Jones plays Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds, while Anthony Ramos plays John Laurens and young Phillip Hamilton.
    Hamilton is a 'sung through' musical, which means it is almost completely sung. There are some spoken lines but not many. Most scenes have ensemble movement/dance/interaction/scene setting as well. One of the members of the ensemble was recounting a conversation he had with someone recently. They asked him where he worked out, noticing he was in fantastic shape and strong as an ox. He said, "I turned and looked at them and said, "I dance full out for four hours or more,  five days a week, and eight hours on the other two. I don't 'work out'." Yeah, that would probably be enough.
    Okay. I'll spare you anything else about A. Ham.  I am currently in a big push to read biographies about all the founding fathers, including Burr. I seems to me that either I wasn't paying attention in history class or the teachers let some things slide. It could have been either, to be perfectly honest. I do remember spending a lot of time hunched behind someone's back in history class, busily reading library books. In my defense, the class was reading the textbook two paragraphs at a time. There was no discussion and no additional information given. So.....



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