Much like the titular subject of his densely chewy, enormously satisfying new musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda is clearly so driven by, fascinated with, and passionate about something that he has been unable to keep from inserting himself into it, messing around with its guts enough to leave an indelible mark. Alexander Hamilton, the exceptionally driven founding father, loved his adopted, newborn country so deeply that he couldn't help but pour most of his energies into it, tinkering endlessly with details of its very foundation in hopes not only of ensuring its best possible future, but his legacy along with it. Just as Hamilton helped make this country what it is, Miranda has worked obsessively to push forward, and thereby ensure the continued relevance of, one of its more iconic art forms, which will not be the same as a result of his multifaceted attention to it.
Even before Hamilton entered previews, it became the hottest show in town, and tickets to see it became almost astonishingly hard to come by. When I finally snagged a pair, I decided to avoid reading or listening to other people's opinions about the musical. It's been a long time since any show snowballed the way this one has, and in far less breathless situations, I tend to believe the hype. I've almost always experienced serious disappointment as a result. It turned out to be pretty hard to tune it all out this time around, no matter how hard I tried. When a production gets lauded as often as this one has--when it regularly gets called game-changing, paradigm-shifting, unparalleled, and even revolutionary--it becomes pretty hard to keep the wax in one's ears and remain bound in ignorance to the mast.
- WAGNER: Narrator of the play; A more refined and learned clown; Faustus’s servant.
- MEPHISTOPHILIS: A devil called on by Faustus. Depressed clerk who has worked at the same desk job for all these years.
- A clown; brazen fool, but not without native wit.
- Another clown / bumpkin; a complete idiot, innocence incarnate and a dupe; loveable and dangerously daft.
- The Devil; kind by temperament, but firm; likeable.
- An almost absent presence, like a wayward son or disaffected teen.
- Versatile utility actor, comedic clown.