Ever since my family watched “Hamilton” on Disney+ during the pandemic, a day hasn’t gone by without me hearing a song from the musical in our house.
My kids know the hit songs by heart. So, I had a chance to become Dad of the Year when I took my teenage daughter to see “Hamilton” live at Saroyan Theatre.
The touring show of the smash musical continues through Sunday, April 10.
If you can trust a teenage girl who meets most parental requests with an eye roll, she loved the performance.
The Enduring Music
The show is about much more than Alexander Hamilton’s relationship with his frenemy, Aaron Burr. It is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s take on American history while shedding light on the life of the man best known for being the guy on the $10 bill.
It is about seeing theater live — the acting from the touring San Francisco group, the Broadway-quality sets and lighting, and of course, the music.
Why does the music endure?
“It’s contemporary, so it’s accessible,” said Marja Harmon, who portrays Angelica Schuyler, Hamilton’s sister-in-law.
“Yes, it’s hip hop, rap, but it’s also pop. It’s R&B, it involves every single genre. It’s incredibly engaging and fun and to listen to and it’s also giving you history. I mean, I don’t know any parent who’s complaining about their child singing Hamilton because they’re learning something,” Harmon said.
A Return to Performing
Harmon, with several TV and Broadway credits to her name, says this is the peak of her career.
“It definitely ranks the highest for me so far. It is definitely a highlight of my career. From the moment I saw Hamilton back in 2016, I told myself I have to do that show and I have to do that role. So it’s definitely a dream come true for me to get to embody (Angelica) every single night,” Harmon said.
“Hamilton,” like many live theater performances, has resumed after a long pandemic-caused shutdown.
“Those first few performances were so overwhelming and cathartic for the audience and for ourselves,” Harmon said.
COVID precautions are key, Harmon said. The show travels with its own safety officers. Even though the state has relaxed proof of vaccine or negative test requirements, Saroyan Theatre is still checking, per its contract with the production company. Masks are still required in the theater.
“Hamilton has done a really good job of protecting us because we’re the ones who have to be out there without our masks on. And all it takes is one cast member to get COVID for the whole company to go down,” Harmon said.
Earlier this year, the production in Los Angeles was shut down for three weeks because of COVID.
The crew most recently performed in Denver. Harmon appreciates being back at sea level. “We have all the breath capacity,” she said.
Harmon, an Indiana native and USC graduate, looks forward to exploring the Central Valley during her stay. She will use her day off to visit Yosemite.