10 Reasons to See Hamilton in L.A.

Ruben J. Carbajal, Michael Luwoye, Jordan Donica, Mathenee Treco and the Hamilton touring companyEXPAND
Ruben J. Carbajal, Michael Luwoye, Jordan Donica, Mathenee Treco and the Hamilton touring company
Joan Marcus

If you're a person who is alive, chances are you've heard about Hamilton, the hip-hop musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Since opening off-Broadway in 2015, the show has turned into a phenomenon, winning 11 Tony Awards and becoming one of the most sought-after tickets on Broadway.

The show will finally be performed for Los Angeles audiences when the current national tour stops at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre from Aug. 11-Dec. 30. Some Angelenos may have already seen the show outside of L.A. and others may not want to see it at all, but here are 10 good reasons to get a ticket if you can.

1. Michael Luwoye is Alexander Hamilton. For L.A. audiences, the absence of Lin-Manuel Miranda may be a reason not to see the show in L.A. Michael Luwoye, who plays Hamilton in the touring company, may play the role differently but he still brings an energy that can't be missed. Luwoye actually began his tenure as Hamilton in the Broadway production, first as an understudy and then as an alternate for the role once a week. "Michael is such a lightning rod of energy and focus. He's so consistent and such an honest, open [performer]. He feels like a brother to me when we're doing this onstage, which makes the betrayal even harder to deal with," says Joshua Henry, who plays Hamilton's rival, Aaron Burr, in this production.

2. Joshua Henry is Aaron Burr. While many may be familiar with Leslie Odom Jr.'s take on the role in the original cast, Henry is a very well-known Broadway actor who has received multiple Tony nominations, including for his role in The Scottsboro Boys. He even appeared in the ensemble of Miranda's pre-Hamilton show, In the Heights. "Joshua Henry's Burr is phenomenal. The fact that [L.A. is] getting to see one of Broadway's top leading men right now is a real gift for all of us," says Rory O'Malley, a Tony nominee who plays King George, as he did on Broadway and in the San Francisco production. "I can't believe I get to hear Joshua Henry sing eight times a week — he's flawless."

3. This group of performers has set out to make the show fresh rather than re-creating what the Broadway cast has already done. "One of the great things about the creative team is that they really want this to be a separate thing [from Broadway]," Henry says. "The creative team really put their trust in this company and said you have to make it who you are. We're not trying to re-create what we did in New York, and that's a really freeing feeling as an artist. I'm so grateful for that trust they've put in us." This cast also started from the beginning together as a group, as opposed to the current Broadway production, which constantly has new actors coming in to replace the original cast. "We started as a cast all together, so on day one we were all on the same page. It's been a team effort, so it's just nice to join a cast that's kind of like my cast, my home base," O'Malley says.

4. L.A. is a melting pot, which fits right into the themes of Hamilton. The genre-bending format and diversity of the Hamilton cast has made both the birth of our country — and theater in general — more accessible to nonwhites. The story itself is about an immigrant who came to America for a new life. "The image of diversity onstage is such a powerful image, an image that represents everyone in America, [and] in this particular cast, [there are] white, black, Asian, Hispanic [performers]," Henry says. "It's really empowering when you see yourself represented in entertainment and especially onstage when you're talking about how this country came to be." What better place to see such diversity onstage than in a city as diverse as Los Angeles?

5. L.A. audiences bring a specific energy that audiences in New York or any other city don't. Both Henry and O'Malley agree that the audience is an integral part of the show, and the energy it brings greatly affects the actors onstage. Because L.A. doesn't have as big a theater scene as some other cities, those who seek out theater do not take it for granted and have an enthusiasm that's unrivaled. "I think that the L.A. audiences are going to bring an enthusiasm and a positivity [because they] are so grateful to see theater that they really see it as being a privilege," O'Malley says. "When I've gone to see shows at the Pantages, there's always an extra amount of excitement because it's not every day that [a big show like] Hamilton comes to town. In New York, it's like, this show's been running for years, [but in L.A.], it's only here for five months."

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