Hip-hop American tale ‘Hamilton’ sweeps into the Smith Center

Shoba Narayan and Joseph Morales.
Photo: Joan Marcus / Courtesy

It’s time to place the musical Hamilton right up there with the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. It’s art that has been elevated into the American experience, a groundbreaking, box office-busting, hip-hop-styled origin story of our founding fathers.

It has won 11 Tony awards (including Best Musical), a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the show is still making the news. This week, the cast gave a private performance to President George H.W. Bush. “I will never forget,” he tweeted. “History never sounded so powerful.”

Hamilton tells the life story of immigrant-turned-Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. He rose from orphanhood in the West Indies to creating the United States’ treasury system. All the stars of the American Revolution are present: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and King George III. The sweeping storyline also stands out for its color-conscious casting: black and Latino actors play the lead roles. Puerto Rican superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music, book and lyrics and played the title role in the original cast production.

Smith Center president and CEO Myron Martin describes the first time he saw Hamilton: “I went in knowing what I was going to see, and I was still was overwhelmed with the extraordinary beauty of this work,” he said, calling in from New York City, where he’s attending Broadway League meetings, seeing all the newest shows and preparing to complete his Tony Awards ballot. “It’s unlike anything I’d seen before. Frankly, I had to go back to see again right away. And I did.”

So it’s no small deal that Hamilton is coming to town May 29 through June 24 at Reynolds Hall. “Once again, Las Vegas is part of the first national tour,” Martin says. “Before the Smith Center, Las Vegas generally didn’t get first national tours; we’d get tours later on in their life.”

Naturally, such a hot ticket is in short supply. Believe it or not, the show wasn’t completely sold out at press time. A scattering of tickets remained available on the Smith Center website, most of them in the highest, $629 price range.

If that’s out of your budget, there’s still hope. All you need is a little bit of luck and a Hamilton. Forty orchestra tickets will be made available for every show at $10 apiece through a pre-show lottery. Visit hamiltonmusical.com/lottery for more information or download the Hamilton app to your phone for convenient lottery entry, show news and fun perks like stickers. Just watch out for fraudsters or scalpers. If you didn’t buy direct, you can’t be guaranteed the ticket is real.

Still not convinced Hamilton is special? The New York Times calls it “proof that the American musical is not only surviving but also evolving in ways that should allow it to thrive and transmogrify in years to come.”

In addition to the music and the storytelling, Hamilton offers something deeper. “Kids are learning American history in ways they never been able to before,” Martin says. “They’re being engaged in excitement of American history because of what has been done. It really is a cult phenomenon.”

HAMILTON May 29-June 24; Tuesday-Sunday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m.; $69-$629. Reynolds Hall, 702-749-2000.

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