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James Monroe Iglehart to Join ‘Hamilton’ on Broadway

January 17th, 2017 Comments off
James Monroe Iglehart (Photo provided by James Monroe Iglehart.)

James Monroe Iglehart (Photo provided by James Monroe Iglehart.)

Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart will join the Broadway cast of Hamilton in the dual roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson starting in mid April (date TBD), it has been announced by producer Jeffrey Seller.

James Monroe Iglehart made his Broadway debut in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Iglehart then originated the role of Bobby in Memphis on Broadway before landing the role of Genie in Aladdin. For his work as the Genie, James won both the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

James made his sold-out solo debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below in a show entitled “How the Heck Did I Get Here?” James has played concert venues across the country. James recurred on Netflix’s original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as Coriolanus Burt, the rival of male protagonist Titus Andromedon played by Tituss Burgess. James also guest starred on the Fox television show Gotham. He recently filmed his feature debut opposite Richard Gere, Peter Dinklage and Juilianna Marguilles in the upcoming The Three Christs of Ypsilanti. He is a native of the San Francisco Bay area.

With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, music direction/orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.  The musical won eleven 2016 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Score, Book of a Musical, Direction of a Musical, Choreography and Orchestrations.  Mr. Miranda received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Hamilton.

The Room Where It Happens: ‘Spamilton’

September 8th, 2016 Comments off
The cast of 'Spamilton.' (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

The cast of ‘Spamilton.’ (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

Have we tired of Hamilton yet? Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop founding father musical bio garnered 11 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Last week the Broadway hit grossed more than $2 million and there’s no indication that sales will be slowing down any time soon.

Dan Rosales in 'Spamilton.' (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

Dan Rosales in ‘Spamilton.’ (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

Enter Gerard Alessandrini, the formidable force behind the mostly successful Spamilton, his latest installment in a career of Forbidden Broadway parodies that have spanned 34 years. Up until now, the shows have been revues that poke fun at the classics and whatever may be on boards at the time.

But just as Hamilton seems to have cracked the musical theater mold, so has it cast new light on the Forbidden Broadway formula. This time around, Alessandrini has penned (albeit loosely) a plot that charts Miranda’s rise from his early life in Inwood, Manhattan, the dark horse success of In the Heights, and his subsequent Broadway takeover with Hamilton. And in true Forbidden Broadway fashion, there are plenty of cameo impersonations along the way.

Alessandrini is dancing with the devil with Spamilton, tasked with re-writing material by a genius—literally—Miranda won a 2015 MacArthur Genius Grant. For the most part, his writing sticks to the wall:

A colony of theatre royalty
Meanwhile Broadway keeps shiftin’ on us endlessly
Essentially new shows stink relentlessly
They fill them with hot air and have a spending spree
Ev’ry thing is overblown condescendingly
So there will be a revolution in this century! Enter me!  

Alessandrini positions Aaron Burr (as played by Leslie Odom Jr. as played by Chris Anthony Giles) as Miranda’s nemesis, encouraging him to forego innovation and stick with a familiar Broadway formula instead. Of course, we all know how that turns out. As Miranda, Dan Rosales is wiry and lythe, able to capture Miranda’s nasally bari-tenor and also turn legit when required.

Nora Schell in 'Spamilton.' (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

Nora Schell in ‘Spamilton.’ (Photo: Carol Rosegg via The Broadway Blog.)

The rest of the cast includes Nora Schell as all of the Schuyler sisters (with the help of some hand puppets), Nicholas Edwards (who captures Daveed Diggs to perfection), and Juwan Crawley, who possesses a piercing tenor voice that reverberates through the rafters. The young cast is high on energy, and while all of impersonations may not resonate (Schell’s quick changes as J Lo, Beyoncé and Gloria Estefan fall flat but her Barbra Streisand is gorgeous, darling), there’s plenty there to keep the laughs coming for the show’s 75-minute duration.

Alessandrini’s script works best when it sticks close to the Hamilton source material. Several homages to Sondheim (“Children Won’t Listen,” “Broadway Assassins”) drag down the show’s pace, though special guest appearances by Christine Pedi (a Forbidden Broadway veteran) as Bernadette Peters and Liza Minnelli begging for tickets prove that the Forbidden Broadway formula is alive and kicking.

Spamilton is great fun for those obsessed with the musical of the century, and if you’re familiar with the score and the show’s original cast, you’ll likely want to be “in the room where it happens.”

Spamilton
The Triad
158 West 72nd Street, NYC

 

Breaking: New ‘Hamilton’ Casting

July 13th, 2016 Comments off

hamilton

Karen Olivo, who electrified audiences with her Tony Award-winning portrayal of Anita in the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story, returns to the stage as the brilliant and beautiful Angelica Schuyler in the Chicago production of Hamilton, it has been announced by producer Jeffrey Seller.  Joining Ms. Olivo in Chicago are Broadway veterans Miguel Cervantes as Alexander Hamilton, and Alexander Gemignani as King George III.

Miguel Cervantes (Photo provided by Sam Rudy Public Relations via The Broadway Blog.)

Miguel Cervantes (Photo provided by Sam Rudy Public Relations via The Broadway Blog.)

Mr. Cervantes’ Broadway roles include in the musicals If/Then, American Idiot and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Mr. Gemignani starred as Jean Valjean in the 2006 revival of Les Miserables, and performed in Stephen Sondheim’s AssassinsSweeney Todd, and Sunday in the Park with George on Broadway.

Other principal roles in Hamilton in Chicago will be played by a talented young company comprised of Ari Afsar as Eliza Hamilton; Chris Lee as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson; Joseph Morales as Mr. Cervantes’ alternate; Jose Ramos as John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton; Wallace Smith as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, and Samantha Marie Ware as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds.

Performances begin September 27 at the PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago (18 W. Monroe).  For more information, visit www.BroadwayinChicago.com.

Mr. Seller also announced that Daveed Diggs, who won the 2016 Tony Award winner for his performance as Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, will play his final performance on Broadway  on Friday, July 15.   While the roles are being recast, Lafayette/Jefferson will be portrayed on Broadway by long-time understudies Andrew Chappelle, Austin Smith and Seth Stewart.

With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, music direction/orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.  The musical won eleven 2016 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Score, Book of a Musical, Direction of a Musical, Choreography and Orchestrations.  Mr. Miranda received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Hamilton.

Karen Olivo (Photo provided by Sam Rudy PR via The Broadway Blog.)

Karen Olivo (Photo provided by Sam Rudy PR via The Broadway Blog.)

Karen Olivo won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in West Side Story, having created the role of Vanessa both on and Off-Broadway in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award winning Best Musical In the Heights in 2008.  She also appeared on Broadway in Rent and Brooklyn.

Miguel Cervantes previously performed on Broadway in If/Then, American Idiot and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Off-Broadway in Happiness at Lincoln Center and as Angel in Giant at the Public Theatre.

(In preparation for his Chicago debut as Alexander Hamilton, Mr. Cervantes will play the role on Broadway on July 13 matinee, July 18 and July 25.)

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Breaking: ‘Hamilton”s New Cast Members Announced

July 6th, 2016 Comments off

hamilton

Two-time Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon begins performances mid-August (date TBA) as Aaron Burr in Hamilton on Broadway, it has been announced by producer Jeffrey Seller.  Also joining the Broadway cast on July 11 are Lexi Lawson in the role of Eliza Hamilton, and Michael Luwoye, who performs as alternate to Javier Muñoz in the title role.  Starting July 11, Mr. Muñoz will formally take over the role of Hamilton, a part he has played as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s alternate since the musical debuted Off-Broadway last year.

Brandon Victor Dixon (Photo: lev radin / Shutterstock.com via The Broadway Blog)

Brandon Victor Dixon (Photo: lev radin / Shutterstock.com via The Broadway Blog)

Brandon Victor Dixon was nominated last season for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Shuffle Along, and was previously nominated for Best Featured Actor for the original production of the The Color Purple. Mr. Dixon also starred in Motown: The Musical on Broadway, receiving a Grammy Award nomination, and headlined the original cast of The Scottsboro Boys Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre, and later in London’s West End where he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.

Ms. Lawson returns to the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda, have performed in the first national tour of his Tony-winning Best Musical In the Heights  in the leading role of Vanessa.  She also portrayed Mimi in the Broadway tour of Rent. Lexie steps into the role of Schuyler sister Eliza in Hamilton, currently performed by Phillipa Soo through July 9.

Michael Luwoye makes his Broadway debut in Hamilton, having appeared most recently Off-Broadway in the musical Invisible Thread for which he received a 2016 Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor.

Javier Muñoz will play Alexander Hamilton seven shows a week, while Michael Luwoye performs the role once weekly.

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‘Hamilton”s New Hamilton: Javier Muñoz

June 16th, 2016 Comments off
Javier Mu–ñoz and Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Photo: Walter McBride via The Broadway Blog.)

Javier Mu–ñoz and Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Photo: Walter McBride via The Broadway Blog.)

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s alternate in the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton on Broadway and the actor who portrayed Alexander Hamilton when President Barack Obama saw Hamilton last July  – will step into the title role starting July 11 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (226 W. 46 St.), it has been announced by Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller. Mr. Miranda’s final performance in the Broadway production is set for July 9.

Hamilton won 11 Tony Awards earlier this week, including Best Musical, Score, Book of a Musical, Direction of a Musical, Choreography and Orchestrations.

Mr. Muñoz has been the Hamilton alternate dating back to the musical’s early development and debut at the Public Theatre in January 2015, as well as throughout the Broadway engagement.  He previously took over the role of Usnavi – again, replacing Mr. Miranda – in the latter’s Tony-winning Best Musical In the Heights.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (l) and Javier Muñoz as Hamilton (Photos: Twitter via The Broadway Blog.)

Lin-Manuel Miranda (l) and Javier Muñoz as Hamilton (Photos: Twitter via The Broadway Blog.)

He will perform the role of Alexander Hamilton seven performances a week. Mr. Muñoz’s alternate, who will perform the role once a week as Mr. Muñoz has done, will be announced at a later date along with the alternate’s performance schedule.

In his follow-up review of Hamilton on Broadway with Mr. Muñoz in the title role in November 2015, Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote, Muñoz’s performance maintains “the balance of a revolutionary show about a revolutionary era that seems better every time I see it,” adding, “His Hamilton is sexy with his penetrating stare and Don Juan smile. When he’s courting the ladies and other characters describe him as a tomcat, you know exactly what they mean.”

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Will ‘Hamilton’ Take a Bite out of ‘The Lion King’?

June 7th, 2016 Comments off

Thanks to Vivid Seats for helping us to visualize Broadway’s latest throwdown!

Infographic provided by Vivid Seats via The Broadway Blog.

Infographic provided by Vivid Seats via The Broadway Blog.

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‘Hamilton”s New King George

March 28th, 2016 Comments off
Rory O'Malley (photo provided by Sam Rudy Media Relations).

Rory O’Malley (photo provided by Sam Rudy Media Relations).

Tony Award-nominee Rory O’Malley will reign as King George in the Broadway musical Hamilton starting Monday, April 11 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (226 W. 46 St). Mr. O’Malley steps into the role as Jonathan Groff (Tony Award-Nominee), who departs the musical following the 8pm performance on Saturday, April 9th to begin filming the lead role in David Fincher’s new drama series for Netflix entitled “Mindhunter.”

Rory O’Malley was last seen on Broadway singing “Turn It Off” as Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon, for which he received Tony and Drama Desk nominations, and in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off-Broadway credits include Nobody Loves You (Drama Desk nomination) and Little Miss Sunshine. Television credits include “Partners” alongside Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence, “Nurse Jackie,” “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “1600 Penn” and the film Dreamgirls.

Daveed Diggs (center) and the cast of 'Hamilton' (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Daveed Diggs (center) and the cast of ‘Hamilton’ (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Inspired by the book “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, Hamilton has book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is directed by Thomas Kail, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical direction and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire.

Hamilton is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary.  HAMILTON’s score blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway — the story of America then, as told by America now.

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Breaking: New App Speeds Up ‘Hamilton’ Lottery Entry

March 16th, 2016 Comments off
Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) and the cast of "Hamilton" (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) and the cast of “Hamilton” (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Are you a Ham-a-holic? Launching tomorrow, Ham App is an iPhone app that does one thing: help you enter the lottery to see Hamilton. The hit musical is sold out for months, so the best chance that most fans have (besides paying a premium for tickets or risk purchasing from a scalper) is to enter the daily lottery.

(Ham App screenshot provided by Lukas Thoms.)

(Ham App screenshot provided by Lukas Thoms.)

Now with Ham App, you will be reminded every day when the lottery opens with a simple and fun push notification, taking you directly to the lottery entry page. Hamilton fans will never again miss a chance to enter the lottery (that is, until it moves offline and back to its brick-and-mortar location at the Richard Rogers Theatre.)

In addition, Ham App works in tandem with the website for the Hamilton Lottery to auto-fill your personal information every day that you enter—a process that takes just a few seconds.

Ham App was developed by Lukas Thoms, an avid Hamilton fan and co-founder of the local shopping app Shophood.

“Immediately after I saw Hamilton a few weeks ago I wanted to see it again. Since it’s sold out for the rest of the year, the best chance I have is to enter the lottery. After going through the cumbersome lottery process, I realized I could make it much easier to enter the lottery. So I did,” said Thoms. He emphasized that he is just a fan of Hamilton, and not in any way affiliated with the musical.

Ham App is available beginning Wednesday March 16 for download in the App Store.

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Watch: ‘Hamilton’ at the Grammy Awards

February 16th, 2016 Comments off
Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in 'Hamilton.' (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in ‘Hamilton.’ (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Broadway’s hottest show of the season made a special appearance at last night’s Grammy Awards, and blew the roof off (along with winning Best Musical Theater album)!

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Breaking: ‘Hamilton’ Set to Perform at GRAMMY Awards

February 3rd, 2016 Comments off
Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast of 'Hamilton' (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast of ‘Hamilton’ (photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

The GRAMMY®-nominated musical Hamilton ushers Broadway back to the GRAMMY Awards® stage after a more than five-year hiatus. GRAMMY winner Lin-Manuel Miranda and his extraordinary cast will perform a number from the acclaimed musical on the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards®, directly from the legendary Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York, marking one of only four times that the GRAMMY telecast has featured a performance live via satellite.

Previously announced performers include Adele, James Bay, Andra Day, Ellie Goulding, Sam Hunt, Tori Kelly, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood, and The Weeknd. Entertainment icon and two-time GRAMMY winner LL COOL J is set to host Music’s Biggest Night® for the fifth consecutive year. Taking place at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be broadcast live in HDTV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Additional performers will be announced shortly.

(l to r) Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Gold, and Cephas Jones in 'Hamilton.' (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

(l to r) Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Gold, and Cephas Jones in ‘Hamilton.’ (Photo: Joan Marcus via The Broadway Blog.)

The Hamilton performance will be the eighth time in history that musical theater has been featured on the GRAMMY Awards. Previous Broadway productions featured on the telecast include Godspell (1972); The Magic Show (1975); Sophisticated Ladies (1982); La Cage Aux Folles (1984); Will Rogers Follies (1992); Riverdance and Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk (1997); and, most recently, American Idiot (2010).

“The Hamilton cast and crew are absolutely thrilled to be a part of this year’s GRAMMY Awards,” said Miranda, “Hamilton” creator, writer, and lead performer. “The music community’s response to our cast album has been overwhelming, and we’re honored to be a part of such a special night. To perform from our home at the Richard Rodgers Theatre is a dream come true.”

The Hamilton segment also marks the fourth time that a performance will be broadcast live via satellite on the GRAMMY Awards. The last time the awards telecast included a performance from another location was when Amy Winehouse performed “You Know I’m No Good” and “Rehab” in London during the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2008, the same year Winehouse earned her five GRAMMYs®.

“Melding contemporary hip-hop into a musical set in the year 1776, Hamilton reimagines the traditional musical in a unique and extraordinary way that has brought Broadway — and our nation’s history — to new audiences,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “With the GRAMMY Awards on a Monday this year, we have a wonderful opportunity to highlight this important musical art form on an even bigger stage for our millions of viewers worldwide to experience.”

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