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Fans not throwing away their shot to see first ‘Hamilton’ preview

The first night of previews began Tuesday for the Chicago run of hit Broadway musical "Hamilton." | Jordan Owen/For the Sun-Times

Those who weren’t willing to wait for it got their shot to see the first preview performance of “Hamilton” Tuesday night in the room where it happens in Chicago.

Though some wondered whether Chicago’s version could live up to the historic hype, the audience confirmed it late Tuesday — “Hamilton” is a hit.

“I’m not a fan of rap. I’m not a fan of musicals. I’m not a fan of opera. And I’m not a fan of dancing. And it was one of the best performances and plays I’ve ever seen. It was extraordinary,” said Jack MacKay, 71, of Winnetka. His wife agreed.

Rebecca Luaces is such a fan of the show that she flew to Chicago on Tuesday morning from her home in Miami, Florida, to see the first Midwest performance. She’s flying back home early Wednesday. She saw the show twice in New York, with Lin-Manuel Miranda in the starring role.

“Obviously it wasn’t like New York City, but I really think they took what it was before and they turned it around. It had the original vibe, but it was totally different because of all the new cast members,” Luaces said.

Joellyn Cicciarelli and her daughter, Cara, were two of the lucky attendees at the first night of “Hamilton” previews Tuesday. | Jordan Owen/For the Sun-Times
Joellyn Cicciarelli and her daughter, Cara, were two of the lucky attendees at the first night of “Hamilton” previews Tuesday. | Jordan Owen/For the Sun-Times

Joellyn Cicciarelli, 50, of La Grange, bought tickets to the first night of previews as a 20th birthday gift for her daughter, Cara, who is a fan of Miranda, the musical’s creator, and she even starred in a production of his earlier musical, “In the Heights.”

“It was a lot of work and a lot of money, but she’s a huge fan,” Joellyn Cicciarelli said. “Anything for you, honey.”

Luckily, her daughter loved the show.

“The history itself really translated well and it’s relevant today. I was just amazed at how similar the show I just saw was to a lot of the things that are happening in today’s world,” Cara Cicciarelli said. “I’m kind of awestruck now and it’s hard to describe what I just saw.”

Halimah Jones, 22, recently graduated from Northwestern University and attended the show with her sister, Kamilah Jones, and her sister’s 12-year-old son, Woody Brown.

Kamilah Jones and her son saw “Hamilton” in New York over the summer.

“Absolutely amazing. Just as good as the Broadway show,” Kalimah Jones said.

“It’s the greatest show I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Woody, adding that it was also the first Broadway show he has seen.

And how did Chicago’s version compare to New York’s?

“It was the same,” Woody said.