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Five Hamilton Alternatives for Five Types of Hamilton Fans

Catch the spirit of Ham for a fraction of the price.

Frankie Leo Bennett as Sonny in Porchlight Music Theatre’s In The Heights   Photo: Gretchen Kelley

Perhaps you’ve heard of that little show about the guy on the $10 bill—the one with resale tickets that cost about a brick of $10 bills. The second-ever run of Hamilton opens at the PrivateBank Theatre next week, and chances are you don’t have tickets.

Luckily, Chicago’s theater scene at large boasts a wealth of Hamilternatives this fall, many treading the same territory as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece. While you’re waiting for Ham tickets to descend in price—or for a new batch to be released—check out these alternatives.

For a Miranda-penned musical

In the Heights

Years before Hamilton, Miranda teamed up with book writer Quiara Alegria Hudes to create In the Heights, a Pulitzer Prize-winning musical set in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Miranda’s signature lightning-fast wordplay peppers the story of a tight-knit Dominican community struggling in the face of gentrification. Funny, sad, and utterly rapid-fire, it’s apt to resonate no matter where you’re from.
Through Oct. 23. porchlightmusictheatre.org

For vintage political shenanigans

The City of Conversation

Anthony Giardino’s topical drama blends the personal with the political in this tale of a D.C. doyenne and a 1979 dinner party packed with Beltway elite. If you’re among the many who have self-censored in the name of family during the run-up to November’s election, you’ll relate to this house divided.
Through Oct. 23. northlight.org

For U.S. History, emphasis on the Common Man

The People’s History of the United States

Inspired by Howard Zinn’s tome of the same name, TPHOTUS delves into the trials of regular Janes and Joes. Quest uses puppets, music, dance, and drama to frame history not with the stories of the rich and powerful, but through the lives of those who’d surely appreciate that Quest shows are always free.
Oct. 6–Nov. 6. questensemble.org

For U.S. History, emphasis on the Founding Fathers

1776

In the sweltering summer of the show’s titular year, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams et al gathered in in Philadelphia to hammer out the Declaration of Independence and a new form of government. Think politics today are fractious? Our Founding Fathers—make no mistake, this show is all about the men—were no models of gracious decorum. 
Nov. 9–11. edgeoforion.com

For an exploration of the foibles of British Royalty

King Charles III

The descendants of Hamilton’s nutty King George III take center stage in Mike Bartlett’s future-set historical fiction. Harry and William’s father Charles is finally King following the death of his long-lived Elizabeth II. Can Charles III rise to the occasion, or will he go down in history as Diana’s ex and the Queen’s jug-eared son?
Nov. 5–Jan. 15. chicagoshakes.com

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