In 1998, Paul Simon’s musical, “The Capeman,” debuted to harsh reviews from an eager group of critics. Rumors had been simmering and knives were out.
While the music and score were intricately woven with Latin American and doo-wop rhythms, the story was that Simon was so invested in the score and orchestration that he didn’t let the rest of the creative team fully inhabit their roles. Most notably, no one moved. Vincent Canby famously wrote in the New York Times, “’The Capeman’ would appear to have less dancing than ‘Death of a Salesman.’”
Fast forward to 2019 and composer, lyricist and Hamilton inhabitor Lin Manuel Miranda had no such problem handing over the reins to Tony award-winning scenic designer David Korins who transformed Miranda’s historical inspiration for “Hamilton” into a breathtaking exhibition of history.
While Hamilton: The Exhibition is not reliant on seeing the show, it’s made that more magical by understanding the many references and ‘Easter eggs’ hidden throughout. The exhibition subtly follows the trajectory of the musical and Korins’ brilliant, immersive environments bring you from “in the eye of a hurricane” to revolutionary New York City, from “A Winter’s Ball” to “Weehawken at Dawn.”
Content is dense, layered even with scholarly voices that take a much deeper dive into elements the musical simply could not tackle with limitations of time and dramaturge.