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DeVos Performance Hall

February 17, 2020

  • 303 Monroe Avenue NW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 742-6500
  • Website

Can we get back to (Michigan)?

I know…my blog posts have been all over the place and there hasn’t been much in Michigan let alone Southwest Michigan.  Don’t worry.  I’m getting there soon but I have one from Grand Rapids I have to do first.

J and I saw Hamilton a few years ago at The PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago.  It was awesome.  Wayne Brady played Aaron Burr and I will never not hear all of Burr’s songs in Wayne Brady’s voice.

We have listened to the soundtrack on a continuous loop since 2017 and our kids have really enjoyed the music as well.  When we saw it was coming to Grand Rapids, I instantly snapped up four tickets.

The show played for about two weeks at the DeVos Performance Hall on Monroe Street in downtown Grand Rapids.  The 2400 seat theater is part of the larger DeVos Convention Center Complex on the on Monroe between Lyon and Michigan Streets

There is parking underneath the DeVos Place on both the Lyon and Michigan streets sides.  There is also parking across Monroe in the City/County Building garage.  I went for a private ramp on Lyon Street because I figured it would be easier to get out of and it was only a block away.  I was right.

There are several ways to enter DeVos Place.  There’s a skywalk from the hotels, the elevator coming up from the underground ramps, and there’s the Monroe entrances which is where we came in.  The box office is just to the left here once you get inside.  We had to go through a quick security screening and then scanned our tickets to get in the lobby.

J and I had been to DeVos Performance Hall one other time.  It was over ten years ago when we first moved to Kalamazoo.  I had won two tickets to see Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles.  I didn’t blog about it because J played hookey from work the next day.  I wish I would have because I really don’t remember much about the place from that trip.  I was a little shocked once we got inside how spacious it is.

The first thing we did was look for the bathrooms.  We knew it was going to be quite a while for an intermission and we didn’t want to miss anything.  We headed in to the Grand Foyer area which is kind of a starting point.  There is access to the floor level seating, bathrooms, and concession areas.

Our seats were way up at the top.  I had initially bought them with the intention of taking B but we discussed it extensively and decided it wasn’t ok to take a 4-year-old to the theater.  B had a hard time sitting still through Frozen 2 and he loved that movie.  He loves the music from  Hamilton but we were pretty positive he wouldn’t sit still for three hours so we offered his ticket to one of J’s friends and set up a play date with one of B’s friends so he could still have a special afternoon and he didn’t even realize what he was missing.

Everyone hit the bathroom and J got a couple of bottles of water (which we weren’t supposed to take in to the auditorium but we didn’t know that) then we started the long climb up to the top.

Yes, there are elevators but it was getting close to show time and we could handle the stairs so we did.  Everytime we’d get to a new level, we’d look at the door, see it still wasn’t our seats and keep going.

The doors were all very clearly marked so we knew exactly which way we needed to go based on our seat numbers.

I chose seats in the last row of the balcony right on the end.  Again, I did so because I thought we were going to have B and I wanted an easy exit if he started distracting people.  Honestly though, the seats aren’t bad.  Yeah, you can’t see the expressions on the actors faces but you can still see and hear really well.  The seats themselves are pretty wide and comfortable so you don’t feel like you’re packed in too tightly.  The incline in the balcony also doesn’t give you vertigo.  We had similar seats in Chicago and it took a while to adjust to being up so high and almost straight down from the stage.  We didn’t have that problem at DeVos.

As for the show, I mean, what can I say that everyone already hasn’t.  Even the second time around, it’s a fantastic show with amazing music and an easy to follow story line.  Even L said she followed most of it….other than the Maria Reynolds stuff…but she’ll get that eventually.   It did take a little time to adjust to the actor’s voices.  We are so used to hearing the songs performed by the Original Broadway Cast that it took a few minutes to adjust to a different voice.  It took until probably The Story of Tonight to settle in and just enjoy…..and do my hardest to not sing along and ruin it for all the people around me.

I forgot just how great of a place DeVos Performance Hall is to see a show.  We never go there because we know we’ll eventually see the same shows at Miller Auditorium which is a little closer to home.  We know that Hamilton will be in Kalamazoo in the next year or two and we’ll got see it again….I’m glad we made the trip to Grand Rapids though.  We were so excited to share Hamilton with L and we were incredibly happy with the theatergoing experience at DeVos Performance Hall.


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