It’s no secret I’m a HUGE Disney lover. In fact, I’m heading to Orlando tomorrow (Thursday, the 15th) for my third Disney Cruise. But, there’s something else I love just as much as Disney: Broadway! There’s just something about the theater that just makes my heart happy. Seeing all those talented performers on stage singing, dancing and acting their hearts out, it’s just an incredible thing to witness.
At the moment I have four favorite Broadway shows. I know, I know, “You can’t narrow it down to one?.” No, I can’t. These four Broadway shows have an equal place in my heart. The first one is Wicked, the first show I ever saw on Broadway. (So of course, it’s always going to be meaningful to me). The next show is Dear Evan Hansen. And even though I’ve only seen it once (so far), it left such a huge impression on me. The third is The Book of Mormon, which currently holds the record for the show I’ve seen the most times. I’ve seen it five times so far.
The final Broadway show is Hamilton.
I’ve seen Hamilton four times now. Each time I see Hamilton, I fall more in love with it. It’s just perfect. The music, the story, the history, the choreography, the simplicity of the set. Hamilton is one of those shows that even someone who hates Broadway (do those people even exist?) can enjoy.
I just love Hamilton so much. So of course I was ecstatic when it was announced that Hamilton: The Exhibition would be debuting here in Chicago!
Hamilton: The Exhibition is located on Chicago’s Northerly Island. There are a few ways to get to the exhibition. You can drive or take public transportation to museum campus and then catch a free shuttle to Northerly Island. Or you can walk to the exhibition from museum campus.
I decided to walk.
If you walk to the exhibition, you get to see all angles of the building so I thought that was pretty cool.
Don’t worry, there’s a little trail leading up to Hamilton: The Exhibition. So if you do choose to walk instead of taking the free shuttle, you won’t get lost. You legitimately can’t miss the huge building.
Just seeing the outside of the building made me happy.
Tickets to Hamilton: The Exhibition have a timed entry, and they do suggest arriving at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Me being the weirdo I am, arrived an hour early. That’s how excited I was.
Before you can actually enter the exhibition, they have you line up and enter a queue. This is so they can hand out your audio guide and explain how it works. Everyone is given an audio guide before entering. Don’t worry there is no extra charge. The audio guide is amazing and really adds to the overall experience.
The audio guide is narrated by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. The audio guide automatically turns on once you enter a room. And then begins describing what’s going on in that room. It was really cool.
While you didn’t have to see the Broadway Show Hamilton to enjoy this exhibition, there are quite a bit of references to the musical throughout the exhibit. They’re mostly little nods to different Hamilton songs.
Here are a few more my favorite Hamilton references:
Raise your hand if you starting singing “Right Hand Man” in your head when you read “Here comes the general!”.
I’m not going to lie, most of what I knew about Alexander Hamilton was what I learned in the Broadway show. I knew of Hamilton prior to the musical, but I knew very little about him. So it was really nice to get to learn the actual story of Hamilton and more about his legacy. This exhibition did an incredible job of showing Hamilton’s impact on the United States.
This scene was “A Winter’s Ball”. (Another nod to the Hamilton soundtrack). It was really cool because each person had a little dot by their feet. You would point your audio guide at the dot and then audio would start playing about that particular person and their life. The audio also shared how the “real” person was as opposed to how they were portrayed in Hamilton.
The Schuyler sisters.
I loved how “The Story of Tonight” (another nod to the soundtrack) was behind Hamilton. This room was definitely one of my favorites. I loved getting to hear a little more background information about all the people in Hamilton’s life.
I don’t know why but for some reason I also like/sympathize with villains. Even in Disney films, the villains always end up being my favorite characters. (Maybe that has to do with the fact villains always get the BEST Disney songs or back stories). For some reason I LOVE Burr. (Or at least the musical version of him). I understood where he was coming from a lot of the times. And “Wait For It” is my jam!
You can’t really see in well in the photo but do you see that red light in between Hamilton and Burr? It said “I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.” So. many. musical. references. But like I said before, you did NOT have to see Hamilton to appreciate or enjoy this exhibition.
Although Hamilton: The Exhibition is leaving Chicago soon, it WILL be traveling to other cities. Those cities haven’t been announced yet but I guessing it’s going to be hitting most of the major cities, i.e NYC, LA, etc.
Of course what’s an exhibition without a gift shop at the exit? There were tons of cool Hamilton merch in the gift shop ranging from apparel, to books to magnets to snowglobes. Definitely a little something for everyone. If you’re a Hamilton or history fan, I highly recommend checking out Hamilton: The Exhibition before it leaves Chicago on August 25. (Or when it comes to a city near you!).