“Hamilton” returns to Tampa’s Straz Center
January 30, 2023
The award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton made its way back to Tampa Bay, held at the Straz Center of the Arts from December 28th to January 22nd. With the curtains closing this past week, many students and faculty here at the Academy went to see this marvelous show; For some, the first time, for some the third, but for all, the talk of Tampa.
Hamilton first came to Tampa’s Straz on their first tour back in 2019. Most of the shows were completely sold out, as no one in the greater Tampa area had seen the show unless they traveled to New York or at another theatre they went to on tour. The musical’s combination of ballads and clever rap songs brought extreme popularity to the American public, so its high demand for tickets was not a shock when it first toured Tampa.
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This Broadway musical has a unique component in its soundtrack that has heavily contributed to its success and traction in our society. Its songs encompass rap and contemporary ballads. One second it is a slower song, and the next it is a rap battle among the cast.
“I’ve been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack for years now, so being able to see it in person was like a total dream come true. I always felt a little sorry for myself that I never won the Hamilton lottery the whole time I lived in New York, but this performance was fantastic. Even better… I got to sit next to Mrs. Leavens during the performance!” said English teacher Dr. Allison Alberts.
With its engaging and modern way of representing the history of the United States, the show can attract all age groups. Younger kids are drawn to it because of the learning aspect and the entertaining music, and older adults are also drawn to it because of the history well-represented throughout the show.
“Hamilton was amazing and completely exceeded my expectations. I wish I would’ve seen it before I took American History!” said Ava Politz (‘23).
Hamilton’s cast is not just full of great Broadway singers and dancers; most of the original cast is composed of successful actors such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., and Anthony Ramos. This just made the show even more special when it debuted in New York City because the audience was not just seeing some great talent they were also possibly seeing some of their favorite actors. Because of this, the entire show was recorded on Broadway and released on a Disney+ special in 2020, which anyone with an account may watch.
— Disney+ (@DisneyPlus) July 3, 2020
Although it is a universally loved musical in our country, there are still very tough critics even from the Academy, as Theatre Department Head Vivian Kimbler said “I loved taking my students and my colleagues to such a creative and innovative theatrical show! I enjoyed the music (I think the songs are very clever) but thought the performance overall lacked energy and the vocals were marginal”.
However, this is the kind of show that will still attract everybody. People who do not love or keep up with Broadway theatre have either heard about or seen Hamilton. The show has been able to re-image a very overlooked era of American history through the lens of people of color, adding to the appeal. Overall, the city of Tampa was overjoyed to have the tour back at the Straz Center once again, and hopefully, it will be back for a third time in the future.
“Hamilton knocked the socks off my feet. I was beyond impressed with the cast and they kept me engaged the entire musical,” said Lauren Brown (‘23).