There’s a moment late in the first act of “Hamilton,” a defiant declaration by Joseph Morales’ title character and his wartime cohort Marquis de Lafayette: “Immigrants — we get the job done!”
Wednesday night, that drew cheers from the soldout Durham Performing Arts Center crowd as the characters exchanged high-fives onstage.
The action was set in 1781, the Battle of Yorktown that settled the American Revolution. But it was impossible not to think about the election that just happened in 2018 — one in which paranoia over immigration was a major issue, yet a rainbow coalition of different races, genders and orientations was voted into public office.
“Hamilton” is the rare masterwork that toggles you back and forth between then and now. Both historical and contemporary, it’s kind of the ultimate “Schoolhouse Rock!” sketch expanded to full-length theatrical experience, set to breakneck block-rocking beats and a dizzying array of musical styles.
It’s a gorgeous mosaic that works because, like all great art, it’s less about Alexander Hamilton than human nature. “Hamilton” is a tone-poem meditation on ambition, ego, jealousy and fatal flaws, with at least as much humor as tragedy.