At this point, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is beyond critic-proof. (Once you’ve had an entire episode of Drunk History dedicated to your recap of the events in your musical, what else is there to achieve?) But for the fanatics and newbies alike, I’m happy to report that the current Broadway in Chicago touring production of the Show That Saved Broadway (or so I assume, from all the hype) is in fine (if somewhat familiar) fettle.
Between the first time Miranda’s hip-hop take on the Founding Father and first Secretary of the Treasury (inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography) played here in preelection 2016 and today, we’ve been through a few events that hit a little close to home. This is, after all, a story about power-hungry politicos and how to tie together a country of confounding and conflicting interests during and after a time of revolution. (Neil Haskell’s hilariously insinuating take on King George’s “You’ll Be Back” made me uneasy, considering who’s running again for POTUS on the GOP side.)
Through 12/30: Tue and Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Wed 1:30 and 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM (see website for complete schedule); James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, broadwayinchicago.com, $42.50-$182.50
Pierre Jean Gonzalez in the title role feels a bit more rough around the edges initially than either Miranda or Miguel Cervantes, who played the role in the original Chicago production. But that works for a story about a young man in a hurry in the first act. And as both the music and the story take on more mournful hues in the second act, so, too, does Gonzalez’s performance. That’s when the contrasts with Jared Howelton’s showboating Thomas Jefferson and Deon’te Goodman’s glowering Aaron Burr come into sharp focus, all leavened by the sweet brokenhearted figure of Eliza (Nikisha Williams), Hamilton’s wife. But perhaps my greater love for the second act is itself a product of the heartbreak of living in America during the last administration.