“Hamilton” is unlike any other musical and, although it has been on Broadway since 2015 and in Seattle once before, enthusiasm for this show is still through the roof.
The current production will be at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre through Sept. 11 (2022), and we were fortunate enough to catch it in its first week.
Between two Seattle’s Child staffers, we were accompanied by, among others, a 10-year-old (almost 11) boy seeing his first “grownup” show, an 18-year-old superfan who could quote (and sing) the entire show and one skeptical spouse who identifies as a nonlover of rap.
Everybody had a great time.
Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has been quoted as describing “Hamilton” as being about “America then, as told by America now,” with the Founding Fathers portrayed by people of color and their story told in hip hop, pop and R&B, as well as traditional show tunes. It’s unusual, and it works.
The songs are largely upbeat, and many of the lyrics go by quickly — as does the plot in general.
‘Hamilton’ with kids: Will they get it?
There are two possible strategies: Try to familiarize yourself beforehand, with the founding of the United States or at least the way it plays out in “Hamilton.” OR, sit back, take it all in and enjoy the spectacle.
Our 10-year-old spectator was wide-eyed and all smiles the whole time. Mom was grateful that the fast pace meant some of the innuendo and expletives went over his head. They did have some interesting discussions on the drive home: “We talked about adultery — what it meant and how it affected the story. We also talked about how the language of the play, especially the curse words, are a part of the play and not an excuse to use it in our everyday lives.”
Overall he got bits and pieces of the story, while thoroughly enjoying himself. His favorite parts were the duels and the King George scenes. His favorite song was “My Shot,” which he nicely explains as, “It’s like you have one chance to make a difference for yourself and your country and that’s what Hamilton was doing.”
King George steals the show as a flamboyant, clueless jilted lover who exits each of his three scenes while singing a scat sequence. The Thomas Jefferson character is also larger than life. Actually, many of the characters are.
The 18-year-old superfan (and her 14-year-old cousin) were totally rapt, thrilled to be seeing in person the show they had seen and listened to countless times. They both wore dresses inspired by the Eliza Hamilton character. They weren’t the only ones dressed like that, and other fans had “Hamilton” shirts, bags and even masks.
The nonlover of rap (who happens to be a lover of history) also gave his approval to this unique production that has become such a cultural icon. In addition, the teenagers enjoyed filling him in on a few subtleties that he had missed.
I think we all felt very fortunate to be able to take it in.
‘Hamilton’ with kids: tips and observations
- The show continues through Sept. 11. Availability and pricing of tickets varies widely. For instance, on Wednesday, Aug. 24, there’s a big chunk of mezzanine seats available at $59 each. You probably won’t do better than that — unless you happen to “win” the $10 ticket lottery. Here’s how that works.
- Get a primer on what you’re about to see by reading “Hamilton,” the Ron Chernow biography that inspired Miranda’s musical. (Just kidding, kind of. At more than 800 pages, this would be a hefty homework assignment. Disney+ subscribers can stream a Broadway production of the musical, though.)
- Need the bathroom? Hike to the Paramount’s top floors (if you’re not already seated there), where it’s less crowded
- Masks are optional; vaccination cards were not checked.
- Consider bringing a small handheld fan (paper or plastic; not battery-operated). It was quite warm during the second act when we went – and it wasn’t even a warm day.
- Parking score: $9 flat rate evening parking at Seventh and Pike garage. Backing in could make for a quicker, safer exit after the show
- Worried about the sleep factor (or late-night driving)? Try a matinee performance. Or listen to the 10-year-old: “The show was worth less sleep!”