When kids swarmed the stage to rap about Alexander Hamilton during Rise Up’s first performance, the “Hamilton” tribute band knew it was on to something.
“Hamilton,” a sung-and-rapped musical about the Founding Father who wrote 51 of the 85 essays known as The Federalist Papers, became a cultural phenomenon after its Broadway debut in 2015. The show won 11 Tony Awards, a Grammy and a Pulitzer.
The musical, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, was inspired by Ron Chernow’s book “Alexander Hamilton,” and tells the story of the the life and death of Hamilton by way of hip-hop, R&B, soul and Broadway show tunes. Hamilton was famously killed by Vice President Aaron Burr in a duel in 1804.
Rise Up, from Seattle, named for one of the “Hamilton” songs, will perform the award-winning musical’s biggest hits at a Nov. 30 show at the Historic Everett Theatre.
One thing you need to know about the “Hamilton” tribute band: They don’t perform the musical. Rise Up doesn’t wear period clothing, doesn’t perform any choreography and doesn’t have any set designs. The band is just about Miranda’s music.
But what is discouraged during the Broadway show, and Rise Up encourages, is for audiences to sing along. Band members feed on the energy, putting it back into their performance.
“It’s just something that people are still going nuts over,” said singer Mikaela Romero. “We’re very fortunate to represent it in a way that people can sing along and have fun listening to their favorite songs.
“Some of the action can drown out some of the other stuff,” she added. “We wanted to bring forth the music.”
The band — a runner-up in this year’s Seattle Weekly best musical act list — was formed in 2016. Five vocalists divide up all the signing parts, including those of Alexander Hamilton, Burr and Hamilton’s wife, Eliza. Five musicians perform the instrumental parts on drums, piano, guitar and violin.
Performing the fast-paced and complex lyrics isn’t easy. It took band members a lot of practice. Even Romero, a self-proclaimed “hip-hop head,” had difficulty.
“I’ve been rapping along to Tupac and Biggie since I was in high school, but nothing as extensive as what’s written for ‘Hamilton,’ ” Romero said. “The rhythms are complex, and nobody had experience doing rap.
“Now that we’ve gotten it under our belts, everybody is feeling the flow.”
Drummer Jeremy Stone said Miranda’s lyrics resonate with so many because they portray the Founding Fathers as real people with flaws and hardships, “but definitely as people you want to look up to.”
One more thing: The songs they perform aren’t exact covers. Rise Up performs its own renditions of such popular songs as “My Shot,” “Yorktown” and “Ten Duel Commandments.”
“Replication is fun, but doing something that is our own is more satisfying to an audience,” pianist Jim Horn said.
The Broadway musical was praised for selecting non-white actors for the cast. Rise Up also is a diverse group.
“We break down assigned gender roles,” Romero added. “All of us — the men and women — get to sing as Hamilton. We’ve gotten feedback from people who are non-binary, who don’t conform to gender roles, and it means a lot to them to see that.
“Our group is all-inclusive.”
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
What: Rise Up, Hamilton tribute band
Where: Historic Everett Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave., Everett
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 30
Tickets: Start at $12
More: 425-258-6766 or www.historiceveretttheatre.org