Hamilton: The Exhibition Opens In Chicago

The immersive exhibit opens Saturday at Chicago's Northerly Island

Lisa Fielding
April 25, 2019 - 1:55 pm
Hamilton: The Exhibition

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Construction workers, artists, and painters are putting the final touches on the newest arm of the Hamilton craze.

"We thought the show has been such an interesting portal into a conversation of early America. What if we went deeper and wider with that conversation and instead of having compressed time in order to make a two hour and 40 minute piece of  theater? What if we expanded time and went deeper with the storytelling of the man and all the men and women around him as opposed to just the characters in the show," said David Korins, Creative Director, Designer, who also designed the "Hamilton, The Musical" set.

Two years in the making, Korins said the site is an 18-gallery, interactive, immersive exhibition centered on the life and times of Alexander Hamilton.

"If you can believe it, we have poured something like 1,400 cubic yards of cement and created a foundation on which we built a building, and an entire experience that is built to travel," he said. "Our broadway show travels in seven trucks, this travels in about 80, eight zero, trucks."

Hamilton: The Exhibition features an audio tour narrated by the musical’s author, Lin Manuel Miranda, along with Phillipa Soo and Christopher Jackson, who played Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and George Washington in the original Broadway production of Hamilton.

David Korins, Creative Director, Designer, Hamilton: The Exhibition
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

"We basically have an airplane hanger, almost the size of a football field that you walk into, with Lin as your audio guide in your ear, you get to walk down the rabbit hole into the world of Alexander Hamilton in a complete 360-degree, fully-immersive walk through of the life and times of Hamilton, and Washington and Jefferson and Madison and the Skyler sisters and everyone else. We get to see how it all happened," Korins said.

When it came to designing the exhibit, Korins said it was like nothing he's ever done before.

Hamilton: The Exhibition
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

"The challenge here was to do this thing and present this thing with museum rigger. This is not like doing a play or musical where it's an abstract tapestry. This at times, especially with the information, had to be done with museum quality. It is probably the highest quality exhibition I've ever seen. It's certainly the largest exhibition in this city and the largest exhibition launched in this country," he said.

Korins said debuting the exhibit in Chicago was a no-brainer.

"It is a city that has a very, very rich history with learning institutions, exhibitions, museums and galleries. Our show will have played to more than 2 million people when we open," he said.

Hamilton: The Exhibition
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Korins said the exhibit is for all ages to enjoy.

"It is a great thing to bring kids do, if you are someone looking to take incredible Instagram pictures or vidoes, if you are someone who's interested in history, if you're someone who loves the show, if you're someone who's never seen the show, single ticket, date night, this is your place," he said.

Hamilton: The Exhibition
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

While Korins wants the exhibit to entertain, he wants people to come away with a historical perspective and how its still relevant today.

"This is not just a piece of entertainment, this is now an important part of American history. This is a museum, a gallery, and a exhibition, and I'm hopeful that this will begin to move the needle on how people learn, on how people have a conversation about facts, and words, and writing, and reading. The people's names we remember from the founding of our country, the Washingtons, the Madisons, the Jeffersons, those are the people with the biggest ideas that were looking the furthest in the future," he said. "Every single day we deal with something that directly affects us in 2019 that Alexander Hamilton thought of, out of thin air. People don't really know that he created border control, he wrote our financial system into exhibition, he created the Electoral College. It is that collaboration that literally willed our country into its existence. "

Hamilton: The Exhibition
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Hamiltion: The Exhibition opens to the public Saturday. Timed tickets to the exhibit start at $39.50, not including fees and are available through Ticketmaster.

"I think people have no idea what they are walking into. They are going to be stunned and thrilled and entertained" Korins said.