If you haven’t seen it already, you’ve likely heard of the critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning musical, Hamilton. As shows go, every opening of Hamilton around the globe has been ridiculously big, garnering tremendous reviews and endless hype since it kicked off on New York’s Broadway in 2015, London’s West End in 2017, and in Australia and New Zealand in 2021.

After much anticipation, Hamilton finally debuts in Singapore thanks to Base Entertainment Asia at Marina Bay Sands’ Sands Theatre, and marks the musical’s first international tour.

Hip hop music

First things first, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical is about Alexander Hamilton, America’s Founding Father and the first secretary of the US Treasury. An immigrant from the West Indies, he became George Washington’s go-to during the Revolutionary War and helped shape the foundations of the America we know today. Of course, the America we know in 2024 is remowned for many different things, one of them being that it’s very good at producing hip-hop music.

Indeed, Hamilton isn’t just a musical but a ‘hip-hop musical’, and uses rap rather than traditional spoken word which immediately makes it sit-up-straight-in-your-seat captivating. You’re immersed in rhythmic speech and street vernacular from the get-go, fully invested in the verse, half digesting the info-packed dialogue, and half waiting to see if the uber-talented cast will mess up their lines. (NB:They don’t!)

Traditional musical fans needn’t worry. Alongside the genius delivery of sentences are charged emotions and melodies that resemble the more ‘timeless’ musicals we know and love. The score incorporates jazz, blues, rap, Broadway, and a smattering of ’90s-style R&B.

The live music is played by an orchestra and the lyrics are sharp as well as poignant, with each song telling a narrative and moving Hamilton’s plot forward. Favourite tunes from the ANZA office include “My Shot” (Hey yo, I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy, and hungry, and I’m not throwing away my shot!), “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” and the shoulder-shaking “The Room Where It Happens”. (Apparently 57 Maiden Lane, New York, fact fans). The choreography is on point, naturally.

Dramatic highs & lows

Back to the plot. “Alexander Hamilton” – the opening tune – sets the scene of Hamilton’s (Jason Arrow) life thus far – we learn that he’s “the orphan son of a whore and a Scotsman” (their words, not ours!) who emigrated to America when he was a teenager in 1772. The show goes on to chronicle Hamilton’s life. Along the way, we see relationships with his wife Eliza (Rachelle Ann Go); his friends John Laurens, Marquis de Lafayette (David Park) and Hercules Mulligan: and his rival Aaron Burr (DeAundre’ Woods).

There are sweeping highs and lows including a revolution, political sex scandal, blackmail and death via a duel. It’s intense stuff involving themes such as legacy, ambition, and fame, providing a gripping experience for the audience. In true modern-day style, once leaving Marina Bay Sands, we spen the night googling the actual story at home. We wished we’d swotted up on US history beforehand – a little basic knowledge would make for maximum enjoyment of the show.

Upon exiting MBS, the verdict was unanimous: Hamilton is hyped because it’s a masterpiece. Combining an eclectic array of musical genres, storytelling and history, this is a show offering an outstanding experience for history buffs, trad musical devotees and fans of a modern tune. Believe the hype and book up!

Hamilton is at Marina Bay Sands’ Sands Theatre from now until 9 June. Tickets are available for Tuesday, Wednesday evening and Sunday matinee performances at Marina Bay Sands ticketing and Sistic.