Everything you need to know about ‘Hamilton’ in London
Don’t throw away your shot to see Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre, one of the most popular musicals in a generation. The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic historical musical centres on Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father and revolutionary whose ascension in the political sphere made waves around the world.
Making a global star out of its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as its original stars such as Leslie Odom Jr. and Daveed Diggs, the London production of Hamilton continues its recordbreaking trajectory. Hamilton will always be marked as one of the greatest musicals of all time. But, why?
What is Hamilton about?
The eponymously-named musical centres on Alexander Hamilton, orphaned and moved to New York in hope of a better future. The first line foreshadows Hamilton’s life, growing up to become “a hero and a scholar”, but how did he do that? Meeting his future revolutionaries like Aaron Burr, Hercules Mulligan and Marquis de Lafayette, Hamilton eventually becomes an instrumental part of reforming the United States forevermore, especially as George Washington’s right-hand-man.
Hamilton isn’t just a military musical though. Audiences see him fall in love and eventually marry Elizabeth Schuyler, become a father and find himself caught in the first romantic scandal recorded in American history. You’ll want to join Hamilton and Burr though, as they tell “The Story of Tonight”.
When did Hamilton premiere?
The world premiere of Hamilton took place at the Public Theater, one of New York’s leading off-Broadway theatres. Initially, the musical was scheduled from 20 Jan - 5 Apr. 2015, later extended by a month. But, audiences couldn’t get enough of Hamilton and a Broadway transfer was imminent.
Hamilton began Broadway previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 13 Jul. 2015, ahead of an official opening on 6 Aug. 2015. Hamilton has ran continuously at the Richard Rodgers Theatre since its Broadway opening, but is currently suspended due to the pandemic.
The London production of Hamilton began previews at the Victoria Palace Theatre on 6 Dec. 2017, ahead of an official opening on 20 Dec. 2017. Hamilton also reopened the Victoria Palace, which was closed beforehand due to theatre renovations.
Who wrote Hamilton?
Hamilton features a book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Prior to this, he’d worked on musicals such as In the Heights and Bring It On, but Hamilton is his jewel in the crown. Away from the stage, he’s also written music for the Disney film Moana and starred in Mary Poppins Returns alongside Emily Blunt.
Who is in the Hamilton cast in London?
The Hamilton cast in London stars Karl Queensborough in the title role, alongside Simon-Anthony Roden as Aaron Burr. Trevor Dion Nicholas plays George Washington, previously starring as the Genie in Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre. Gavin Spokes stars as King George III.
The Schuyler sisters are played by Allyson Ava-Brown as Angelica Schuyler, Sharon Rose as Eliza Hamilton as Emilie Louise Israel as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds. Hamilton’s fellow revolutionaries are played by Emile Ruddock as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, Jason Pennycooke as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson and Carl Spencer as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.
The Hamilton ensemble is completed by Jade Albertsen, Curtis Angus, Robson Broad, Ashley Daniels, Lisa Darnell, Kelly Downing, Lydia Fraser, Dujonna Gift-Simms, Manaia Glassey-Ohlson, Joe Griffiths-Brown, Gregory Haney, Peter Houston, Barney Hudson, DeAngelo Jones, Jake Halsey-Jones, Phoebe Liberty Jones, Travis Kerry, Natasha Leaver, Aaron Lee Lambert, Sinead Long, Louis Mackrodt, Jay Perry, Alexzandra Sarmiento and Lindsey Tierney.
Who was in the original Hamilton cast in London?
The original London cast of Hamilton starred Jamael Westman in the lead role, who made his West End debut in the production. Giles Terera played Aaron Burr, who has since starred in Rosmersholm at the Duke of York’s Theatre and is due to play Sammy Davis Jr. in a new musical.
What theatre in London is Hamilton playing at?
Hamilton is currently playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Hamilton was the first show to open at the Victoria Palace Theatre since recent renovations. Previous shows at the Victoria Palace include Billy Elliot, which ran for over a decade.
What is the running time of Hamilton?
The running time of Hamilton in London is 2 hours and 45 minutes. During the show, there is a 15 minute interval.
What songs are in Hamilton?
Songs from Hamilton have transcended the musical theatre world, becoming popular hits in their own right. Stand-out songs from the musical include “Wait For It” sung by Aaron Burr, Eliza’s passionate ballad “Burn” and the company number “Non Stop”.
Here’s all the songs in Hamilton:
"Alexander Hamilton" – Burr, Laurens, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Eliza, Washington, and Company
"Aaron Burr, Sir" – Hamilton, Burr, Laurens, Lafayette, and Mulligan, and Company
"My Shot" – Hamilton, Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan, Burr, and Company
"The Story of Tonight" – Hamilton, Laurens, Mulligan, Lafayette, and Company
"The Schuyler Sisters" – Angelica, Eliza, Peggy, Burr, and Company
"Farmer Refuted" – Seabury, Hamilton, Burr, and Company
"You'll Be Back" – King George III and Company
"Right Hand Man" – Washington, Hamilton, Burr, and Company
"A Winter's Ball" – Burr, Hamilton, and Company
"Helpless" – Eliza and Company
"Satisfied" – Angelica and Company
"The Story of Tonight (Reprise)" – Laurens, Mulligan, Lafayette, Hamilton, and Burr
"Wait for It" – Burr and Company
"Stay Alive" – Hamilton, Washington, Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan, Lee, Eliza, Angelica, and Company
"Ten Duel Commandments" – Laurens, Hamilton, Lee, Burr, and Company
"Meet Me Inside" – Hamilton, Burr, Laurens, Washington, and Company
"That Would Be Enough" – Eliza and Hamilton
"Guns and Ships" – Burr, Lafayette, Washington, and Company
"History Has Its Eyes on You" – Washington, Hamilton, and Company
"Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" – Hamilton, Lafayette, Laurens, Mulligan, Washington, and Company
"What Comes Next?" – King George III
"Dear Theodosia" – Burr and Hamilton
"Non-Stop" – Burr, Hamilton, Angelica, Eliza, Washington, and Company
"What'd I Miss?" – Jefferson, Burr, Madison, and Company
"Cabinet Battle #1" – Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison
"Take a Break" – Eliza, Philip, Hamilton, and Angelica
"Say No to This" – Maria Reynolds, Burr, Hamilton, James Reynolds, and Company
"The Room Where It Happens" – Burr, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and Company
"Schuyler Defeated" – Philip, Eliza, Hamilton, and Burr
"Cabinet Battle #2" – Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison
"Washington on Your Side" – Burr, Jefferson, Madison, and Company
"One Last Time" – Washington, Hamilton, and Company
"I Know Him" – King George III
"The Adams Administration" – Burr, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and Company
"We Know" – Hamilton, Jefferson, Burr, and Madison
"Hurricane" – Hamilton and Company
"The Reynolds Pamphlet" – Jefferson, Madison, Burr, Hamilton, Angelica, James Reynolds, and Company
"Burn" – Eliza
"Blow Us All Away" – Philip, Martha, Dolley, Eacker, Hamilton, and Company
"Stay Alive (Reprise)" – Hamilton, Philip, Eliza, and Company
"It's Quiet Uptown" – Angelica, Hamilton, Eliza, and Company
"The Election of 1800" – Jefferson, Madison, Burr, Hamilton, and Company
"Your Obedient Servant" – Burr, Hamilton, and Company
"Best of Wives and Best of Women" – Eliza and Hamilton
"The World Was Wide Enough" – Burr, Hamilton, and Company
"Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" – Eliza and Company
What are reviews like for Hamilton in London?
As perhaps expected, after the runaway success of Hamilton on Broadway, London critics highly praised the West End production. In a five star review for LondonTheatre.co.uk, Mark Shenton said: “This show may be about history, but it also makes history itself: not just in the freshness and vivacity of its rap-based score that could come from the charts today, but also in the colour-blind diversity of its cast… But it’s also impossible to take your eyes off the amazing dance ensemble who move with utter fluidity. Both the show and the theatre are here to stay.”
For The Independent, Paul Taylor said: “The show creates the impression that it is not merely dramatising Hamilton’s revolution but, in its artistic choices and spirit, is carrying it forward.” This sentiment was shared by Michael Billington for The Guardian, stating: “What is astonishing is how well the form fits the subject: Miranda’s use of rap, hip-hop and R&B becomes the ideal vehicle for exploring the birth of a nation. Miranda’s music and lyrics combine two things that rarely go together: political passion and nimble wit.”
What awards has Hamilton won?
As well as impressing critics and the public, Hamilton has wowed awarding bodies too. Here’s all the major awards that global productions of Hamilton has won.
Best New Musical
Outstanding Achievement in Music - Alex Lacamoire and Lin-Manuel Miranda
Best Actor in a Musical - Giles Terera
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical - Michael Jibson
Best Lighting Design - Howell Binkley
Best Sound Design - Nevin Steinberg
Best Theatre Choreographer - Andy Blankenbuehler
Best Best Book of a Musical - Lin-Manuel Miranda
Best Original Score - Lin-Manuel Miranda
Best Actor in a Musical - Leslie Odom Jr.
Best Featured Actor in a Musical - Daveed Diggs
Best Featured Actress in a Musical - Renee Elise Goldsberry
Best Costume Design of a Musical - Paul Tazewell
Best Lighting Design of a Musical - Howell Binkley
Best Direction of a Musical - Thomas Kail
Best Choreography - Andy Blankenbuehler
Best Orchestrations - Alex Lacamoire
What are some fun facts about Hamilton?
After the musical’s global success, the Hamilton Mixtapes were released, an album of Hamilton covers from stars including Sia, Queen Latifah and Usher.
Hamilton was released on Disney+ in July 2020, starring the original Broadway cast including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jonathan Groff.
The rap in “Guns and Ships” is considered to be the fastest song in musical theatre, with an average of six words a second.
How do I get tickets for Hamilton in London?
Hamilton tickets are on sale soon.
Photo credit: Original London cast of Hamilton (Photo courtesy of Hamilton)