Hamilton attains triumphant debut in Washington- but will Trump go to see it?

Hit musical, which Mike Pence was booed at during a 2016 performance, opened after tremendously successful run in New York

The mega-hit musical Hamilton made a triumphant debut in Washington on Thursday, coinciding with Donald Trump’s birthday. There seems little prospect, however, of the US president ever attending the show.

Composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda paid a visit to former chairman Barack Obama , a huge fan, before attending the opening performance at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where it will run for three months.

Miranda was joined by celebrity chef Jose Andres , wearing a T-shirt that said:” Immigrants feed America “. Andres opposed a two-year legal battle with Trump after cancelling plans to open a restaurant at his hotel in Washington and continues to jab at him on social media.

A celebrated lyric in the musical,” Immigrants: we get the job done”, made a cheer and applause. Kennedy Center staff said they were not aware of any politicians in attendance, although Hamilton seems a natural fit for a city that lives and breathes politics.

It tells the story of Alexander Hamilton , an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary war and was the first treasury secretary. The score mixtures hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R& B and Broadway; the diverse casting insures George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other dead white males( and females) played by actors of colour.

The show opened in New York in 2015 and became Broadway’s hottest ticket. Miranda and other casting members were invited by Obama and his wife Michelle to perform at the White House . That seems unthinkable now.

Soon after the 2016 election, vice-president-elect Mike Pence was booed at a performance and, at the final curtain, directly addressed by the cast :” We are the diverse Americans who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents .”

Actor Brandon Victor Dixon speaks from the stage after the curtain call at a performance of Hamilton Mike Pence attended in New York on 18 November 2016. Photograph: AP

Trump wrote on Twitter that Pence had been “harassed” and the casting had been “very rude”. He added :” The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behaviour .”

Miranda has attained his view of the president clear. Last October, following the deadly hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Trump’s criticism of the mayor of San Juan, the starring, whose mothers are from Puerto Rico, tweeted :” She has been working 24/7/ You ought to have GOLFING ./ You’re going straight to hell ./ Fastest golf cart you ever took .”

It remains to be seen if Trump, who break with tradition by staying away from last year’s Kennedy Center Honors , or Pence will put in an appearance for the Washington run of Hamilton, which won 11 Tony awardings. On Thursday, audience member Dave Austin, 48, who runs an advertising agency, said:” The diversity in this cast is not something I guess would be to their taste .”

Recalling the” Immigrants: we get the job done” line, he added:” I don’t think they’d be applauding with everyone else .”

Hannah Garrett, 26, a graduate student in clinical mental health counselling, said:” I don’t know what they’d get out of it. They know they’re not especially welcome in Washington .”

Like many Hamilton fans, Garrett had listened to the soundtrack countless hours but had never seen the show.” It’s a time when there’s not a lot to be proud of as an American ,” she said.” It’s interesting that it came out of the Obama presidency .”

Informed that Miranda was in an attendance, Garrett and two friends screamed in unison: “What?!” and began texting friends in excitement.

For theatregoers in DC there has been a long wait for the masterpiece that recounts how Washington became the capital of the US, though Hamilton himself did not spend much day here. As in other cities, thousands of people queued for long hours in person and online to buy tickets.

Michael Clements, the editor-in-chief of Capitol File Magazine , said:” It’s huge: from New York to London, then it’s finally attained its way to DC. I’m blown away. To feel the energy of the show is completely different from hearing the chatter about it. It’s a beautiful DC night. It takes on a new meaning here, so close to the monuments .”

The production has been rapturously received. Peter Marks , the theatre critic of the Washington Post, wrote:” When Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson start rapping about the national debt and states’ rights, you know this hip-hop musical is so made for Washington that it could occupy its own monument on the Mall. And it’s not just any musical, but a run that’s both cool and wonky and without a doubt one of the great musicals of all time .”

Daniel Foster, a contributing editor at the National Review, tweeted a photo of himselfwith a woman against a Hamilton/ Kennedy Center backdrop.

” Finally insured Hamilton ,” he wrote.” Also, she said yes .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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