Edmontonians can be in the room where it happened, with the Broadway and cultural smash musical Hamilton playing at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium until July 10.
After facing pandemic postponements, the musical opened in Edmonton on Tuesday. Julius Thomas III, who plays the titular character, says the cast is excited to share the most influential musical of the 21st century with audiences.
“We are ecstatic,” Thomas told CTV News Edmonton.
“I mean most of us this our first time coming to either Canada or to this side of Canada. A lot of us get to Toronto because it’s close to New York,” he added.
Many of the cast have received messages of excitement on social media from audience members and supporters, with some indicating this show is their first since the pandemic, Thomas said.
“It’s been beautiful,” he added. “That’s what we want our art to do, is to touch people.”
The hip-hop, rap musical premiered Off-Broadway in February 2015 and sold out its entire initial run. Hamilton garnered a record number of Tony Award nominations and won 11 awards, in addition to eight Drama Desk Awards.
It uses the story of American revolutionary, founding father, and first U.S. treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton to explore the immigrant experience, legacy, and seizing opportunity.
A filmed version of the Broadway production was released on Disney’s streaming platform in 2020.
While filling Lin-Manuel Miranda’s shoes might seem like an impossible task, Thomas said he has made the iconic role his own.
“What I love about this creative team is that they never asked me to imitate Lin-Manuel Miranda,” the performer said. “They allowed me to bring all of Julius to the role, which allowed me to really stretch and grow as a performer and to come in and have ideas and try them onstage.”
For anyone who might be worried that they need to know about the American Revolutionary War period and the U.S. Founding Fathers to enjoy the story, Thomas assuaged those fears.
“No, you do not need to know about American politics,” he said. “The book is pretty brilliant in that way.
“All you have to do is come with open ears and open hearts, and we are going to send it all right to the centre of you.”
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