New Year’s Day 2019: ‘Hamilton’ Opens at Benedum; New Year’s Day Bowl Watch Hotspots

1) Hamilton stands alone. No other musical has captured the American public’s attention (and ticket money) to such a massive extent so quickly. Hamilton opened on Broadway in 2015. A Chicago production of equal scale opened in 2016. Both are still booking reservations months in advance, while two U.S. tours traverse the country, with a third tour launching in Puerto Rico this January. Hamilton is brought to Pittsburgh by the “Angelica” touring company, named after Alexander Hamilton’s unfortunate eldest daughter, who went mad. (The other tour is the “Philip,” named after Hamilton’s eldest son, who was killed in a duel at age 19, presaging his father’s fate.) Why such unlucky naming? Perhaps because in show biz, it’s bad luck to say “Good luck.”

And perhaps there are several explanations for the musical’s popularity. Hamilton’s life was filled with both personal and political drama. Writer/composer Lin-Manuel Miranda has struck an unconventional chord by telling the story hip-hop style, and using actors of black and indigenous heritage to portray the white side of America’s heritage. Also, Hamilton is good. Tickets are scarce and expensive but an online lottery gives seats to lucky winners for $10. They’ll see Pittsburgh native Peter Matthew Smith playing England’s King George. Part of the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series. Continues through January 27. Benedum Center, 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)

2) New Year’s Day traditionally features big bowl games including the Fiesta, Rose, and Sugar Bowls. Several good game watch locations where you can get some good grub and nurse a hangover are: William Penn Tavern, Cupka’s Cafe II, Carson City Saloon, and Rivers Casino Wheelhouse Bar & Grill.

Fiesta Bowl: No. 11 LSU Tigers (9–3) vs. No. 8 UCF Knights (12–0), 1 p.m.

Rose Bowl: No. 9 Washington Huskies (10–3) vs. No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (12–1), 5 p.m.

Sugar Bowl: No. 15 Texas Longhorns (9–4) vs. No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (11–2), 8:45 p.m.