Theater review by Adam Feldman Three separate times in Joshua Harmon’s Admissions, a white person tells another white person to look in the mirror. The goal is to check oneself for signs of privilege, as one might examine one’s skin for potentially cancerous moles. But the trickier question—and the subject of Harmon’s narrowly focused but well-argued issue play—is the right course of treatment if one finds something amiss. Jessica Hecht, using her affectlessness to good effect, plays the head of admissions at a New Hampshire prep school run by her husband, Bill (an aptly confident Andrew Garman). Both have worked successfully to increase diversity within the student body. But the values they espouse are tested when those ethics threaten the college prospects of their own bright and promising son, Charlie (Ben Edelman). Like Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, which will return on Broadway this summer, Admissions examines the tension between general principles and individual cases, which are messy with complications of merit and family loyalty. The audience responds with tension of its own. When I saw the play, Charlie’s long, frustrated rant about the unfairness of his situation was greeted with a smattering of ambiguous applause: Were people clapping for Edelman’s ardent performance, or the sharpness of the writing? Or were they expressing relief and delight at hearing things they secretly believed but would not say themselves? The nuanced and competing truths in Harmon’
Aladdin. New Amsterdam Theatre (see Broadway). Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Book and additional lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Directed by Casey Nicholaw. With Adam Jacobs, James Monroe Iglehart, Courtney Reed. Running time: 2hrs 20mins. One intermission. Aladdin: In brief Disney unveils its latest cartoon-to-musical project: the tale of a boy, an uncorked spirit and an aerodynamic rug. Composer Alan Menken adds new tunes to the 1992 original soundtrack, and Chad Beguelin provides a fresh book. Reputed highlights include James Monroe Iglehart's bouncy Genie and the flying-carpet F/X. Aladdin: Theater review by Adam Feldman What do we wish for in a Disney musical? It is unrealistic to expect aesthetic triumph on par with The Lion King, but neither need we settle for blobs of empty action like Tarzan or The Little Mermaid. The latest in the toon-tuner line, Aladdin, falls between those poles; nearer in style (though inferior in stakes) to Disney’s first effort, Beauty and the Beast, the show is a tricked-out, tourist-family-friendly theme-park attraction, decorated this time in the billowing fabrics of orientalist Arabian fantasy. “It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home,” sings the genial Genie (a game, charismatic Iglehart) in the opening song, and that’s the tone of Aladdin as a whole: kid-Oriented. As in the 1992 film, the Genie steals the show from its eponymous “street rat” hero (Jacobs, white teeth and tan chest agleam). The musical’s high point i
Theater review by Adam Feldman Jordan Harrison has a lot of explaining to do in The Amateurs, or at least he seems to think so. At first, his ambitious but inchoate new play follows the travails of a 14th-century English theater troupe as—in the face of poverty, persecution and the plague—it rehearses a pageant based on the Biblical story of Noah. But at the halfway mark, Harrison turns the action inside out with a metatheatrical flourish involving two of the actors, Michael Cyril Creighton and Quincy Tyler Bernstine (both very good). During this shift, Harrison directly lays out his thought process, using research and illustrations and throwing that old “show, don’t tell” saw out the window of his demolished fourth wall. To some extent, this section of dramatis interruptus is effective. It has a texture of real life that the medieval sections do not, and it mirrors, in that way, the emergence of personhood that the rest of the show is meant to depict. (Harrison’s thesis is that the suffering of the plague helped spur the formation of individualism.) But its interest is mainly formal; the emotional content doesn’t bleed into the rest of the production when the focus returns to the traveling players. For all its skill, the play rarely seems either more or less than self-conscious. Vineyard Theatre (Off Broadway). By Jordan Harrison. Directed by Oliver Butler. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission. Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdamFollo
Theater review by Adam Feldman There have recently been a number of onstage opportunities for actors with disabilities, in major plays including The Healing, Cost of Living and the latest Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie. Lindsey Ferrentino’s Amy and the Orphans, inspired by the playwright’s family history, extends that salutary trend to an actor with Down syndrome: the remarkable Jamie Brewer, familiar from her multiple roles on American Horror Story. Debra Monk and Mark Blum play Jacob and Maggie, respectively, squabbling middle-aged siblings whose father recently died; for his funeral, they return to New York City and collect their sister, Amy (Brewer), from the assisted-care facility where she lives. They barely know her, and as the play progresses they start to learn why. Overgrown children, Jacob and Maggie are forced to reckon with the mistakes of their parents, and Ferrentino gives the audience a leg up on that understanding through flashbacks to their mother and father (Diane Davis and Josh McDermitt) at a couples-therapy retreat in the 1960s. These scenes carry the bulk of the play’s dramatic weight; otherwise, Amy and the Orphans is slim. Monk and Blum do fine, funny work, and Vanessa Aspillaga is wonderfully vivid as Amy’s pregnant caregiver, but the main attraction is Brewer’s presence. It’s not just a gimmick; it’s the point of the play, a statement for visibility. The casting is the message, and Brewer makes it effective. Laura Pels Theatre (Off Bro
Theater review by Adam FeldmanBroadway musicals often feature heroines trying to find themselves, but perhaps never as literally as in Anastasia. In 1927 Leningrad, the scrappy, strapping Dmitry (Derek Klena) and the worldly, roguish Vlad (John Bolton) devise a scheme to pass off a street sweeper, Anya (Christy Altomare), as the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholaevna Romanov, rumored to have survived the massacre of the rest of her royal family in the Russian Revolution 10 years earlier. But as the con men school her, My Fair Lady–like, in the ways of nobility—hoping to deceive Anastasia’s grandmother in Paris, the Dowager Empress (an elegant Mary Beth Peil)—it emerges that Anya may be the real Anastasia after all. Who knows? Not Anya: She has amnesia. What former self might be nested like a doll inside her, waiting to be revealed? And might there be other dolls inside that one?As Anastasia piles discovery upon discovery, the happiest surprise is how consistently good the musical turns out to be. Smartly adapted by Terrence McNally from the 1997 animated film and the 1956 Ingrid Bergman movie—with Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens impressively expanding their score from the former—Anastasia is a sweeping adventure, romance and historical epic whose fine craftsmanship will satisfy musical-theater fans beyond the show’s ideal audience of teenage girls. (When I saw it, a second-act kiss was greeted with deafening shrieks of approval.) Director Darko Tresnjak keeps the story swirling
Theater review by Helen Shaw There’s no way to say this gently. The play At Home at the Zoo is a single drama Frankenstein-ed together out of two one-acts: Edward Albee’s 1959 masterpiece, The Zoo Story, is bolted onto its far inferior prequel, Homelife, which premiered in 2004. And while you are still allowed to perform The Zoo Story on its own, the Signature Theater, which puts playwrights at the center of its mission, follows Albee’s wish that the two be played as a single piece. That’s laudable, honorable even, but it makes for an evening that’s fully half bad. Yet there’s good news: Thanks to the diamondlike brilliance of Paul Sparks in Zoo, the show is unmissable. (Out of respect for his costar Robert Sean Leonard, I’m not telling you to just show up at intermission.) Homelife could almost be a spoof on an Albee play. While reading a book, wealthy husband Peter (a beautifully precise Leonard) is interrupted by his dissatisfied wife, Ann (Katie Finneran). She wanted to say something; she can’t remember; oh, right, she has a yawning sense of ennui that’s due to her husband’s lack of “animal” vigor during sex. Finneran ladles charm on the part, but she can’t hide that it’s a paper-thin construction. Albee admitted in interviews that Homelife exists only to fill in “gaps” in Peter’s character in Zoo, and everything about Ann—her flimsiness, her idiot need for “chaos” in a house with two teenage girls, even the white linen dress designer Kaye Voyce puts her in—points to th
After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical doesn’t show its age. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs. Avenue Q remains a sly and winning piece of metamusical tomfoolery. Running time: 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.
Theater review by Adam Feldman In a musical that is full of beautiful moments, perhaps the loveliest is the one shared on a plain park bench by Dina (Katrina Lenk), an Israeli café owner, and Tewfiq (Tony Shalhoub), an Egyptian bandleader stranded for the night in her uneventful desert town in 1996. As members of his ceremonial police orchestra play incidental music behind them, Dina asks Tewfiq how it feels to be a conductor. They each raise their arms, inhabiting an imagined experience together, and the music we have been hearing stops; what they feel is realer, and we are invited to imagine it with them. To entrust such a moment to silence is an unusual choice for a musical. But The Band’s Visit, which seems even richer on Broadway than in its award-winning 2016 run at the Atlantic, is unconventionally wise. It is rare to encounter a show that has such a graceful sense of time. Itamar Moses’s book, adapted from a 2007 Israeli film, embraces the unspoken; the characters use English as a second language, which gives the dialogue a tentative, searching quality that draws us closer. And David Yazbek’s Middle Eastern–accented score, orchestrated by Jamshied Sharifi, includes not only wryly witty character songs but also joyous instrumentals for oud, cello, violin, clarinet and darbouka. Lenk, who mixes languidly feline sensuality with knowing self-deprecation, is mesmerizing; her scenes with the courtly, soulful Shalhoub capture the awkward pleasure of lonely people reaching
Beautiful—The Carole King Musical shares several virtues with its titular singer-songwriter, among them humility, earnestness and dedication to craft. If Douglas McGrath’s book never achieves the dramatic grit or comic zip of Jersey Boys, at least director Marc Bruni’s production avoids being a brain-dead, self-satisfied hit parade à la Berry Gordy’s Motown. Still, it does seem that stretches of Broadway’s newest jukebox musical consist of situations such as this: “Carole, you’ve got to write us a hit!” “I’ve written something.” “It’s a hit!” Yes, Beautiful loves its diligent, long-suffering pop genius, and invites you to do the same. It’s quite an easy task when you have the phenomenal Jessie Mueller in the lead. The effortlessly appealing star cut her teeth on Broadway flops (the mis-reconceived On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) and in supporting parts (The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Now she’s ready to carry a show. As Brooklyn-raised King, who started churning out teenybopper tunes at 1650 Broadway in the late ’50s, Mueller exudes warmth and common sense, playing up King’s old-fashioned modesty and insecurity without becoming a doormat or cipher. And when she wraps her rich, burnished voice around those hits—“So Far Away,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “It’s Too Late”—they feel as fresh as the day King penned them. McGrath’s deft, wry book tracks its hero’s tortured first marriage to lyricist-partner Gerry Goffin (Jake Epstein) and their friendly rivalry with anothe
Daniel Alexander Jones (Duat) inhabits his longtime alter ego, Jomama Jones—or does she inhabit him?—in a high-concept musical evening that reflects on a shattered mirror of black history. Jomama is a paradigm of R&B-diva grandeur circa 1982, with impeccable posture and elocution that bespeak an old-school black-star dignity. Although the original "Afromystical" songs don’t always rise to the occasion, it’s a pleasure to bask in Jones’s sequined, oracular presence, especially when Jones allows us to see the pain and labor behind the all-but-impervious diva’s self-fashioning.
Three deadpan blue-skinned men with extraterrestrial imaginations carry this tourist fave, a show as smart as it is ridiculous. They drum on open tubs of paint, creating splashes of color; they consume Twinkies and Cap'n Crunch; they engulf the audience in a roiling sea of toilet paper. For sheer weird, exuberant fun, it's hard to top this long-running treat. (Note: The playing schedule varies from week to week, with as many as four performances on some days and none on others.)
If theater is your religion and the Broadway musical your sect, you've been woefully faith-challenged of late. Venturesome, boundary-pushing works such as Spring Awakening, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Next to Normal closed too soon. American Idiot was shamefully ignored at the Tonys and will be gone in three weeks. Meanwhile, that airborne infection Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark dominates headlines and rakes in millions, without even opening. Celebrities and corporate brands sell poor material, innovation gets shown the door, and crap floats to the top. It's enough to turn you heretic, to sing along with The Book of Mormon's Ugandan villagers: "Fuck you God in the ass, mouth and cunt-a, fuck you in the eye." Such deeply penetrating lyrics offer a smidgen of the manifold scato-theological joys to be had at this viciously hilarious treat crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of South Park fame, and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez, who cowrote Avenue Q. As you laugh your head off at perky Latter-day Saints tap-dancing while fiercely repressing gay tendencies deep in the African bush, you will be transported back ten years, when The Producers and Urinetown resurrected American musical comedy, imbuing time-tested conventions with metatheatrical irreverence and a healthy dose of bad-taste humor. Brimming with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, The Book of Mormon is a sick mystic revelation, the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years. The high
The hilarious Jeff Hiller currently stars in Drew Droege's lovingly brutal portrait of an outrageous and increasingly intoxicated gay man—a spiny puffer, inflated with prickly defenses—at a sanitized same-sex wedding. Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) directs the NYC production, which is now on its second encore run. If you are now or have ever been a gay man, see this show. Read the full original review.
For well over a decade, the critically-acclaimed, nationally-touring musical comedy and sketch troupe Broad Comedy has used its hilarious blend of song, dance and political satire to take an unblinking look at our society. Think of these ladies as the voice in your head—only funnier. TIME OUT DISCOUNT TICKET OFFER: The Broads are here, just when you need them most! Tickets as low as $20. Buy your tickets here with discount code TONY. Promotional description: Ever wonder what would happen if SNL & “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” had a child and hired Tim Minchin as the manny? We have the answer! Broad Comedy has been producing snarky, provocative and lovable all-women’scomedy and musical-satire since 2001. Internationally touring, award-winning, and with YouTube hits reaching in the millions, Broad Comedy has now made the SoHo Playhouse home!Join 5 hilarious Broads, where nothing is sacred, except an unflinching look at America today. It’s outrageous, it’s community, it’s a party on a stage. Don’t miss it! Mondays at 7:30pm at the Soho Playhouse. Offer valid for performances through March 26, 2018. Discount code TONY valid for $20 seats, regularly $35. Offer subject to availability. No exchanges or refunds, all sales final.
A boy must choose between his law-abiding, bus-driving father and a smooth-talking mob boss in Chazz Palminteri’s coming-of-age story, which began as a monologue, became a movie and now returns as a Broadway musical. With songs by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater (Leap of Faith), the piece is directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks. Read the full review.
This John Kander–Fred Ebb–Bob Fosse favorite, revived by director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking, tells the saga of chorus girl Roxie Hart, who murders her lover and, with the help of a huckster lawyer, becomes a vaudeville sensation. The cast frequently features guest celebrities in short stints.
One of the more unlikely musicals on Broadway this season, Come from Away is the tense but humane story of an airport in Gander, Newfoundland, where 38 planes and more than 6,000 passengers were forced to land on September 11, 2001. The book, music and lyrics are by the Canadian team Irene Sankoff and David Hein. Read the full review.
Theater review by Jonathan Matthews The new musical Cruel Intentions is aimed at audiences in search of guilty pleasures. Like the 1999 film that Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross have adapted it from, the show is a teenage gloss on Les Liaisons Dangereuses: Stepsiblings Kathryn (Lauren Zakrin) and Sebastian (Constantine Rousouli) are sexual conquistadors at an Upper East Side prep school; Kathryn wants revenge on the boy who dumped her for sheltered incoming classmate Cecile (Jessie Shelton), a mission that tangles with Sebastian’s intent to bed Annette (Carrie St. Louis), the virginal daughter of the school’s headmaster. A damaging chain of erotic manipulation ensues.We learn all of this via numbingly expository dialogue stuffed between Cruel Intentions’ true raison d’être: its jukebox score of ’90s pop hits, woven together by nostalgia maestro Zach Spound. Some of the score is satisfyingly subverted: “I Want It That Way” and “Bye Bye Bye” are merged to apply to a forbidden gay fling; “Kiss Me” creepily keeps its innocent ring as the accompaniment to Kathryn teaching Cecile how to get to first base. But most of the songs barely budge the plot, commenting on it instead with a convenient key phrase or two. While its story emphasizes the guilt of pleasure gained at the expense of others, the musical invites you to bop your head along. [Note: Frankie J. Grande takes over the role of Blaine Tuttle starting March 18, 2018.] Le Poisson Rouge (Off Broadway). By Lindsey Rosin and Jor
In this captivating original musical, Hello, Dolly! scene-stealer Taylor Trensch now plays the title role of a high school student thrust into social relevance after a classmate's suicide. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's score combines well-crafted lyrics with an exciting pop sound, and Steven Levenson’s book gives all the characters shaded motives. Read the full review.
Theater review by Adam Feldman What do you expect from a Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical? The alley outside the Marquis Theatre has been done up as an empty stretch of beach, and that pretty much sums up Escape to Margaritaville, which seems intended to be watched with your feet up and a melting frozen drink in your hand. Along with more than two dozen songs from Buffett’s tropical-burnout catalog, the show offers steel drums, jean shorts, palm trees and dancers dressed as fluffy white clouds. It’s often hokey and sometimes pokey. But I’ll level with you: I had fun. Oh, right, there is a plot. Paul Alexander Nolan plays a songwriter who works at a shabby Caribbean resort with his bartender pal (an endearing Eric Petersen), and Alison Luff is a spunky environmental scientist on a weeklong trip there with her soon-to-be-married best friend (Lisa Howard). Romance predictably ensues, stumbles, and ensues anew. Written by sitcom veterans Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley, the show doesn’t shoehorn Buffett’s songs into a story so much as cobble a story around them, extrapolating characters and situations from details in the lyrics, which is more successful in small ways than in large ones. (Shrimp, sponge cake and a lost shaker of salt are neatly planted, for example, to yield comic fruit.) Performed by a vocally overqualified cast that also includes Don Sparks, Rema Webb and Andre Ward, the score is pleasantly catchy—I’ve had “Fins” swimming in my head for days—and it probably help
Theater review by Adam Feldman Mark Rylance is mad talented, and it’s enjoyable to watch him step up to battiness in Farinelli and the King. Written by his wife, Claire van Kampen, this candlelit drama is inspired by the story of 18th-century Spanish monarch Philippe V, whose insanity was reportedly eased by the eerie voice of the castrato opera star Farinelli. In Van Kampen’s cleverest device, Farinelli is often played by two performers at once: The appealing Sam Crane acts the part, while the gifted countertenor Iestyn Davies sings it (at most performances). As the public Farinelli floats through Handel arias, the private one stands beside him, a mutilated man estranged from his performative perfection. Davies’s singing provides most of the high notes in this otherwise workmanlike play. The nature of the central musical therapy is barely explored; instead, we get contrived court intrigue, low comedy about English theater, a rushed quasiromance and an equally hasty coda, delivered in a steady march of flat-footed exposition. “I’m telling you this as the King’s chief minister,” says the King’s chief minister. “As the King’s doctor, I am of the opinion that the King’s illness has turned,” says the King’s doctor. "As the King’s second wife I am unpopular," says the queen (a bland Melody Grove). The pleasures of John Dove’s production—the music, Rylance’s halting propulsion, Jonathan Fensom’s sumptuous sets and costumes—gleam to no purpose, real jewels glued to a trinket crow
Theater review by Raven Snook History is a work in progress, and so is Folk Wandering, a breathtakingly ambitious musical that reframes our country’s past through present eyes. The brainchild of director Andrew Neisler (Clown Bar) and playwright Jaclyn Backhaus (whose Men on Boats put a sly feminist spin on the 1869 Powell expedition down the Colorado River), Pipeline Theatre Company's show is simultaneously intimate and epic as its multicultural cast conjures three tales from our collective American memory: a Lower East Side teen working in a shirtwaist factory in 1911; a desperate mother and daughter traversing the Dust Bowl in 1933; and a small-town greaser in 1955 who is mistaken for James Dean. Even if you guess where these narratives will go, you won’t anticipate the emotional epiphanies they evoke as they spin facts into melodic fiction. The numbers—collectively crafted by Backhaus and nine other songwriters, and played by a spirited onstage band with assistance from the actors—are enthralling throughout and make up for flaws in the storytelling: a slow start, some forced humor, a meandering focus. Although the show occasionally slips into pretension, it gets at something deep about the way the past can hold us back (as physicalized by Carolyn Mraz’s glorious tchotchke-strewn set) or push us forward. Future generations may look at us; let’s improve their view. A.R.T./New York Theaters (Off Broadway). Book and lyrics by Jaclyn Backhaus. Music and additional lyrics by
Self-described “bubble scientist” Fan Yang's blissfully disarming act (now performed in New York by his son Deni, daughter Melody and wife Ana) consists mainly of generating a dazzling succession of bubbles in mind-blowing configurations, filling them with smoke or linking them into long chains. Lasers and flashing colored lights add to the trippy visuals.—David Cote TIME OUT DISCOUNT TICKET OFFER:THE GAZILLION BUBBLE SHOW It will blow you away!!!Tickets as low as $49 (regular price $79) Promotional description: After twenty years as a Master of Bubbles, Fan Yang brought his unique brand of artistry to the Big Apple in 2007 and has since wowed bubble lovers of all ages. The Gazillion Bubble Show truly is a family affair for Fan: His wife Ana, son Deni, daughter Melody and brother Jano all can be found on stage in New York and around the world performing their bubble magic. Audiences are delighted with an unbubblievable experience and washed with a bubble tide; some even find themselves inside a bubble. Mind-blowing bubble magic, spectacular laser lighting effects and momentary soapy masterpieces will make you smile, laugh and feel like a kid again.THREE WAYS TO BUY TICKETS:1. Online: Click here to buy tickets through Telecharge2. By phone: Call 212-947-8844 and mention code: GBTONYF453. In person: Print this offer and bring it to the New World Stages box officePerformance schedule: Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 11am, 2pm and 4:30pm; Sunday at 12pm and 3pm Running time: 1h
Theater review by Helen Shaw David Rabe’s generous, long-winded drama Good for Otto begins, very intentionally, like Our Town. A kind-eyed man tells us about a small town in New England, speaking to us as casually as a friend. Like Thornton Wilder’s Stage Manager, our guide can see into the hearts of men, but this time it’s not because of supernatural omniscience. Rather, Dr. Michaels (Ed Harris, a gorgeous presence onstage) works at the Northwood Mental Health Center, where he and fellow therapist Evangeline (Amy Madigan) do their best to fight for their clients against depression and, sometimes, the insurance company. Some of the audience members sit onstage, and the actors (including stars like F. Murray Abraham, Mark Linn-Baker and Rhea Perlman) sit among them. We’re both witnessing therapy sessions and overhearing Dr. Michaels’s dreams; the actors sometimes rise to sing his favorite songs, such as “On Moonlight Bay.” This communitarian gesture—a group singing to heal an individual—can be raggedly beautiful, and as long as it stays in Wilder’s warm shadow, Good for Otto works. But Rabe, a master of the postwar-trauma play, is inexorably drawn to pain that overwhelms reason, and here he loses his grip on the necessary calm. The play saddles Harris with an on-the-nose haunting from his character’s wicked mother, and increasingly noisy scenes about an abused child place an insupportable burden on an overwhelmed young actor. Worse, director Scott Elliott hurries our emotio
Hamilton: Theater review by David Cote What is left to say? After Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s prodigious quill scratched out 12 volumes of nation-building fiscal and military policy; after Lin-Manuel Miranda turned that titanic achievement (via Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography) into the greatest American musical in decades; after every critic in town (including me) praised the Public Theater world premiere to high heaven; and after seeing this language-drunk, rhyme-crazy dynamo a second time, I can only marvel: We've used up all the damn words. Wait, here are three stragglers, straight from the heart: I love Hamilton. I love it like I love New York, or Broadway when it gets it right. And this is so right. A sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda’s uniquely personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith, Hamilton hits multilevel culture buttons, hard. No wonder the show was anointed a sensation before even opening. Assuming you don’t know the basics, Hamilton is a (mostly) rapped-through biomusical about an orphan immigrant from the Caribbean who came to New York, served as secretary to General Washington, fought against the redcoats, authored most of the Federalist Papers defending the Constitution, founded the Treasury and the New York Post and even made time for an extramarital affair that he damage-controlled in a scandal-stanching pamp