Theatre / Feature

All you need to know about Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda's historical hip hop masterpiece has been wowing West End audiences since 2017.

The multi-award-winning and critically acclaimed musical Hamilton reopened the renovated Victoria Palace Theatre towards the end of 2017.

First premiering Off-Broadway in 2015, before transferring to Broadway the following year, Hamilton has cemented its place as one of the most successful theatre shows of the past decade.

In its first year of production, the Broadway show was nominated for a record-breaking 16 Tony Awards, winning 11, and has been enjoyed and eulogised by audience members, critics, celebrities, multiple world leaders and even royalty.

After much speculation and rumour, the West End transfer of Hamilton opened its doors in 2017 to mammoth box office demand and rave reviews.

Carrying on the tradition set by the US counterpart, the West End production won a record-setting seven Olivier Awards during its first year.

Watch Hamilton‘s original West End cast discuss what they love about the musical above, and find out more about the musical below.


*Note that photos may not depict the current cast


What is Hamilton?

Hamilton is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and helped shape the very foundations of the America we know today. The score blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway – the story of America then, as told by America now.

The musical has book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and is directed by Thomas Kail.

Hamilton first took to the stage at off-Broadway venue The Public Theater in New York City in 2015. Only half a year later it opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, which also hosted writer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights in 2008. The production continues to run at the New York City venue to this day.

The West End production opened at the very end of 2017 at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre.

From off-Broadway to London’s West End, Hamilton celebrates a multitude of award wins, from coveted Tony Awards to a selection of the UK’s prestigious Olivier Awards. The many accolades include Best Musical at the Tonys, Best Musical Theatre Album at the Grammys, and Best New Musical at the Oliviers.

Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda also celebrates a Pulitzer Prize and an Emmy Award among his plethora of distinctions. Having penned In The Heights and Hamilton, he is also responsible for the music in Disney’s Moana. His own acting credits include appearances in Mary Poppins Returns and Speech & Debate on the big screen, as well as stage appearances as Usnavi in In The Heights and as Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton.


Who stars in Hamilton?

As of 18 November 2019, Karl Queensborough has taken on the lead role of Hamilton, taking over from Jamael Westman.

Sharon Rose has taken on the role of Eliza Hamilton, whilst Emilie Louise Israel plays Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds.

Simon-Anthony Roden has taken on the role of Aaron Burr, Trevor Dion Nicholas now plays George Washington, Emile Ruddock plays Hercules Mulligan/James Madison and Carl Spencer plays John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.

From the 4 November 2019, the role of King George III has been portrayed by Gavin Spokes.

They join original cast members Alyson Ava-Brown as Angelica Schuley and Jason Pennycooke as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson.


What happens in Hamilton?

From the moment the first bar of the musical’s opening number Alexander Hamilton kicks in, it’s clear that Hamilton is truly special.

Hamilton is 2 hours 45 minute (with 15-minute interval) thrill ride that fuses hip hop, RnB and a handful of traditional musical theatre elements, to tell the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s most iconic Founding Fathers.

Hamilton is bound together by the universal themes of immigration, love, politics, war, death, sadness and sacrifice, making the relatable musical highly enjoyable even for those less aware of America’s history.

The majority of the first half of Hamilton is centred around the American Revolutionary War, which ran from 1775 until 1783 and saw Britain’s 13 US colonies declare independence from the nation. Although the war ended over 200 years ago, parallels are drawn between the world of then and today.

One hugely memorable example comes in the opening of Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down), where Hamilton converses with fellow military officer Marquis de Lafayette. “We’re finally on the field, we’ve had quite a run”, with his compatriot and fellow US migrant joining him in declaring, “immigrants, we get the job done”. The moment is rightfully greeted by loud applause and cheers from the audience.

It underpins this powerful tale with top class technical prowess, from its lighting and costume to its unparalleled choreography and emotionally charged music, spectacularly cementing its place in the upper echelons of musical history.

Dive backstage at Hamilton with original cast member and Olivier Award winner Michael Jibson, who portrayed the role of King George III when the show first opened in the West End.


What are the Hamilton reviews saying?

“…revolutionary musical a thrilling salute to America’s immigrants” – The Guardian
“Lin-Manuel Miranda’s visionary musical lives up to the hype” – Time Out
“A magnificent achievement” – The Independent
“Believe the hype – Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical is a knockout” – Evening Standard


What else do I need to know?

Hamilton is now showing at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre, with bookings open until 20 June 2020.

Performances take place Monday through to Saturday with a start time of 19:30. There are also matinee performances on Thursdays and Saturdays, with a start time of 14.30.

Tickets to see Hamilton are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.