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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Even nose-bleed seats can’t spoil ‘Hamilton’


So, there I was on Thursday night, up on the Mezzanine level of Seattle's Paramount Theater (section 21, Row L, seat 9), waiting for the road-show production of the musical "Hamilton" to begin.

I was stuck in a seat too small for an adult man (which is a theater tradition I detest), next to a guy who hummed throughout the show, and behind a guy whose bushy hair forced me to shift left and right the whole three hours just to catch a glimpse of the action on stage.

Even worse, the sound that traveled up into near-nosebleed territory was muffled so much so I could catch only about half of the dialogue that was either sung or delivered in Lin-Manuel Miranda's finger-snapping rap rhymes.

The stage was set, so to speak, for me to have a very bad night.

But that's a good gauge of just how good "Hamilton" is. I loved the show, nearly as much as I loved a production of "Rent" that I was lucky to see on Broadway some two decades ago.

Road-show productions can be good, of course. But they don't always live up to the hype generated by the original cast. Yet over the past couple of days, as my wife and I have driven through Southern California and central Arizona, we've listened to the soundtrack of the original show.

And what we heard at the Paramount on Thursday night, even muffled, was every bit as good. Each cast member not only had great stage presence, but each one boasted a pure Broadway voice. And the production was staged in a way that emphasized the quality of Miranda's Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning words and music. 

Now I look forward to reading Ron Chernow's biography, which Miranda credits as having inspired him to write his musical.

When I do so, rest assured that I'll make sure to be sitting in a comfortable chair, nowhere near either an inveterate hummer or a bushy-haired man.

Below: Some "Hamilton" tunes from the original show.

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