Broadway hit back at Broward Center


It is still “Hamilton.”

The bona fide Broadway box office phenomenon is playing the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale through Dec 11. And if a smidge of the revolutionary fizz that shined so bright on the Great White Way has turned down from a 10 to an … oh, let’s say a solid 8 … then that’s OK because the show is still packing a wallop.

It is still “Hamilton.” So recognize.

That reputation for drawing legions of new (as in younger) audiences to the staid world of stage musicals, is still in evidence, all the more remarkable since the show is about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton; Y’know, the dude who created our financial system and the Federalist Party. Not exactly a topic expected to start a youthquake.

And yet when the musical’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, debuted the production off-Broadway in 2015 and ushered it onto Broadway-proper later that year, “Hamilton” became a juggernaut, earning critical adoration and enthralling audiences with its multiracial casting and ebullient sampling of rap culture.

The sung-through and rapped work (there is very little spoken dialogue) follows Hamilton’s life from his birth in the Caribbean, about as far away from political influence as one could be in the 1700s, to the very center of power after the American Revolution. Far from a whitewash, the show also delves into Hamilton’s extramarital affair, family travails and — spoiler alert — death via duel.

The company from the Broadway national tour of "Hamilton," which is playing at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

As with previous “Hamilton” road tours that have come through SoFlo in the past four years, this run’s opening night on Nov. 22 saw teenagers and twentysomethings wearing 18th-century costume cosplay: cravats, waistcoats, breeches and tricorn hats. That is what one does as a super-fan of this stage musical (let that sink in).

Yes, it is still “Hamilton.”

But maybe we’ve changed. It’s as if the musical is settling in place in the national consciousness. Watching Hispanic, Black and Asian actors portray Hamilton, George Washington, Aaron Burr, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and even King George doesn’t even arch an eyebrow anymore. And rap just feels right conveying a pre-video time when words were everything. Can you even imagine the whirling debate over the creation of the Constitution reduced to a couple of sound bites on TV news?

Rap syncs up perfectly with the thrust of the show, the swagger of a young country created through improvisation and recklessness, giving “Hamilton” its drive. But it must also be said that aside from hip-hop and urban rhythms, the musical also has quite a few songs that are show tunes, making for lovely lyrical moments.

This company performs them all well, though you may want to download the cast album and give it a listen because, whether due to the acoustics or sound balance, some passages get muddled. Conversely, the orchestra is beautifully amplified and play the score with earnestness.

Again, maybe it’s “Hamilton” going from being the upstart that revolutionized Broadway to wearing the statesmen-like stature of a Pulitzer Prize, a Grammy and 11 Tony Awards, but just a little bit more voltage wouldn’t hurt. (When the wattage is there — as with Carvens Lissaint’s take on the second act’s “One Last Time” in the role of George Washington — the show hits you like an emotional bolt. The song is Washington’s goodbye to politics and the planting of the idea of a peaceful transfer of power, and the way he delivers it is an irresistible mix of late-night FM radio “midnight soul” and bring-da-boom ballad belting.)

The Broadway national tour of "Hamilton" is in Fort Lauderdale through Dec. 11.
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But that is quibbling. This, after all, is still “Hamilton.”

And that rep means the musical is capable of keeping the electric current humming through a three-hour hip-hop-through-history about the birth of a nation.

WHAT: “Hamilton”

WHEN: Through Dec. 11 (no performance on ThanksgivingDay, Nov. 24)

WHERE: Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale

COST: $49-$189

INFORMATION: 954-462-0222;, and

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