When I got an email from Broadway in Portland asking if I wanted to attend the March 21st performance of Hamilton, I said yes and figured out who I was taking later. It turned out to be my daughter Riley, who is a huge fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s and has learned more about early American history from the rap battles and modern-broadway musical than any textbook.

Broadway in Portland brings you the smash broadway hit Hamilton March 21-April 8, 2018 at Keller Auditorium. While tickets are sold out for all shows, you can get lucky by downloading the Hamilton Lottery app (Android and iOS) or heading to http://hamiltonmusical.com/lottery to enter to win a pair of $10 tickets.

I have listened to the Hamilton soundtrack hundreds of times, but seeing it played out on stage gave such a different perspective on what the message was and who the story was about. Of course we know that it’s essentially about Alexander Hamilton (Joseph Morales who is the spitting image of Lin onstage) and his rise from orphaned immigrant to right hand man of George Washington to his final ending. But it’s also so much about how he affected those around him. Aaron Burr (Nik Walker) is a well-spoken (and dare I say arrogant) grand stander with big dreams of being a part of history. Alexander Hamilton is a hothead with a brilliant mind that often thinks he’s the smartest person in the room.

Nik Walker – HAMILTON National Tour – (c) Joan Marcus 2018

Their history goes back to 1776 upon meeting in a bar and they continue to cross paths throughout the next 28 years until the famous duel of 1804. There are times when they seem to be at odds and only tolerating each other’s existence, but then there are beautiful moments like Dear Theodosia when you see that they aren’t all that different.  But two alphas can only go so far before an explosion happens. The scene of the duel is from the perspective of Hamilton’s mind as it races and faces his demise. Immediately after the perspective shifts to Aaron Burr as he realizes the horrible mistake he’s made.

HAMILTON National Tour – (c) Joan Marcus 2018

But the story is not all about them. It’s not entirely about Alexander or his rise in the government.

It’s about Eliza Schuyler (Shoba Narayan), his wife who starts out as innocent and a hopeless romantic, yet ends up stronger than anyone else on that stage.

Shoba Narayan and Joseph Morales – HAMILTON National Tour – (c) Joan Marcus

I found myself completely enthralled with Eliza’s story. Through most of the show she is a reaction to him. That’s all we see of her – what she feels as a result of his actions. But in the end we hear more about how powerful she was as a woman of early America and how important and independent she was. She is the true hero in this story.

Shoba Narayan, Ta’Rea Campbell and Nyla Sostre – HAMILTON National Tour – (c) Joan Marcus

Eliza is the one who carries on long after A. Ham dies. She gains her independence as founder of the first private orphanage in New York. She was instrumental in putting together Alexander’s biography, which is an essential piece of American History. She raised 7 children, mostly on her own (their youngest was only 2 years old when his father was killed). She lived through love, betrayal, and the unimaginable – losing her oldest son Philip 3 years before Alexander died. Yet she persevered.

I can see how Lin-Manuel Miranda’s story started out as Alexander’s story, but how it evolved to Eliza’s story. It’s beautiful.

Jon Patrick Walker – HAMILTON National Tour – (c) Joan Marcus 2018

One of my absolute favorite parts is that of King George, who is portrayed by John Patrick Walker as a spoiled brat who wants what he wants and when he doesn’t get it throws a fit. It’s brilliant. Also the part of Thomas Jefferson as a James Brown-esque cocky performer of sorts.

Hamilton is one not to be missed. I highly recommend trying your hardest to see it. Much thanks to Broadway in Portland for allowing my daughter and I an experience of a lifetime.