The wait was finally over this week. The hottest ticket on Broadway, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer-winning, record-shattering, earth-moving stage sensation “Hamilton” arrived on tour to Portland’s Keller Auditorium.
“Hamilton” (for the three or four people who have yet to hear of it) is the story of how a guy from the West Indies who nobody knew — and nobody respected — came to New York, helped fight the Revolutionary War, set the young United States on its path and ended up on the $10 bill. The show destroyed the paradigm for telling stories about American history by populating the stage with actors of color and voicing America’s story through hip-hop.
In spite of a $10 ticket lottery, seats have been harder to come by than George Washington’s smiles. But we managed to score a pair. Our guest? Sofia Suárez, a senior at Reynolds High School, a vice president of the school’s student theater troupe. Suárez graduates this year.
“Hamilton” is onstage at Portland’s Keller Auditorium through April 8. Broadway in Portland, the show’s presenter, says tickets are periodically available.
Here are a few of Suárez’s takes on the show:
On what it was like to see staged the songs she’s been listening to non-stop since 2016:
“It was the best thing I’ve ever seen. It felt more intense to me than what I pictured in my head.”
On the set design, including a giant turntable that shifted the action within scenes:
“The set design was perfect for the show. The way they used their stage, moving it back and forth — it created more pieces and more scenery. It added more layers. You could see a happy scene on one side and a sad scene on the other. During the duels, you’d have one side and the other, turning tables — crazy idea!”
On the lighting design:
“The best. I don’t even do lights, but every light was so perfect for every single scene. [In the show’s iconic anthem ‘My Shot’] … whenever they said ‘shot,’ the lights turned white and went ‘boom’ indicating the war, guns, bullets. The bright lights made it as if a fire just hit.”
On one of her favorites in the cast, Angelica Schuyler, the brainy, progressive-minded woman who loves Hamilton, but gives way for his relationship with her sister, Eliza:
“Angelica had my heart. She gave up something she really wanted. That added more to the story. [The Schuyler sisters] hold this feminist power. Sadly, you have to be true to the times, so they also have to have their men next to them. But in the Schuyler sisters’ song you have all these lines that [Angelica’s] going to be this person who’s going to talk to Thomas Jefferson and is going to do all this stuff. It’s today’s America told through a story of yesterday’s America.”
On the show’s uplifting of immigrant stories:
“It made me happy. This country isn’t about white males in charge, it’s about the people who came here who work hard to succeed, like my father. People think of immigrants as low-lifes, but they work so hard. Portraying that in the show is just amazing. [When they got to the line where Lafayette and Hamilton sing, ‘Immigrants: We get the job done’] I wanted to scream.”