A fireworks show at the Diamond last weekend got Broadway fans hyped for the arrival of mega-hit musical Hamilton, which is playing at the Altria Theater until December 8.
Richmond resident Cat Peddicord never thought a song from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton would have her sitting in the freezing cold on a Saturday night. Yet nevertheless, on November 16, Peddicord and her dad came out to the Diamond baseball stadium to watch selected songs from her favorite musical become a firework spectacle.
“Hamilton was actually the first thing that introduced me to Broadway, so it’s kind of like a big thing for me to be here,” Peddicord said.
Almost 600 fans joined Peddicord and her dad at the stadium, bringing blankets and buying hot chocolate to help endure the chilling temperatures.
The Broadway musical premiered in 2015. Through rap and song, it tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, America’s “ten-dollar founding father without a father,” and his rise from the West Indies to U.S. Congress.
First lady of Virginia Pamela Northam and Tony Award-winning actor Chris Jackson, who starred in the role of George Washington in the original Broadway cast, were in attendance at the Diamond. Jackson described combining fireworks and music from Hamilton as genius, and said that events like this one were similar to a church experience.
“It’s allowing our spirits to be open and exposed, and to feel something that maybe we don’t allow ourselves to feel in our everyday lives,” Jackson said.
Fans who purchased VIP tickets had the opportunity to meet Jackson before the event. Before the firework show, Northam, on behalf of the governor, declared Nov. 16, “Hamilton Day” in the commonwealth.
During the performance, fireworks were timed according to a selection of songs from the soundtrack. Songs like “Alexander Hamilton” and “One Last Time” were cut short to meet the number of fireworks being used.
The event was hosted by the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibit, “Founding Frenemies: Hamilton and the Virginians,” which explores the relationship between Hamilton and Virginia’s key founding fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.
“We have been looking forward to Hamilton coming to Richmond for months since it was announced,” said Tracy Schneider, VMHC’s vice president of marketing and communications. “We thought it would be fitting if we did something in the museum, since a lot of the founding fathers are from Virginia and a part of the show.”
Much fanfare has surrounded the Altria Theater’s announcement that Hamilton will play at the theater Nov. 19 to Dec. 8 as part of the 2019-2020 Broadway in Richmond season. This is the first time the national tour of Hamilton will visit Richmond. Previously, the tour held shows in New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., and San Francisco.
“Thank God,” said local fan Morgan Schinkel. “We’ve been so excited.”
Freelance writer and editor Lia Tremblay said she is excited that more local people have the opportunity to see it, and to understand why she hasn’t been able to stop talking about the play since she became a fan.
Altria Theater has been preparing for the 24-show run since the national tour was announced. Audrey Booth, community and municipal operations director for Altria, said the theater is working with the Richmond Police Department and Virginia Commonwealth University to handle issues like parking prior to the show’s opening. Altria Theater expects to sell over 3,000 tickets per show. Booth recommends that ticket holders arrive early to park in the West Main Street Parking Deck.
Peddicord recommends that people who haven’t seen the musical attend the national tour in Richmond. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or at hamilton.etix.com. If fans can’t make it to the Richmond dates, the national tour will head to Norfolk’s Chrysler Hall from Dec. 10 to Dec. 29. The tour also is drawing fans who’ve already seen the musical for a second helping.
“I have already seen Hamilton once,” Peddicord said. “It was so amazing. It’s so different listening to the album than watching it live.”
Written By Christopher Brown, Capital News Service. Top Photo via VCU-CNS