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By Thomas Connors | September 19, 2016 | Culture
Musical theater juggernaut Hamilton prepares to conquer Chicago.
Hamilton, which swept the 70th annual Tony Awards with 11 wins (including Daveed Diggs for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and Leslie Odom, Jr. for Best Actor in a Musical) stages its highly anticipated Chicago production in an open run starting September 27.
Not since The Book of Mormon has a Broadway show expanded the boundaries of the big stage musical and attracted as diverse an audience as the Tony-winning Hamilton. In the hands of anyone but creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Thomas Kail, a story about the Founding Fathers would be a snooze, but this savvy, rap-driven narrative makes history hip.
Kail, who also directed Miranda’s Tony-winning In the Heights, grew up outside Washington, so in some ways Hamilton isn’t far from home for him. “When you grow up in the D.C. area, you’re aware of how people in politics surround themselves with people that say ‘Yes,’” Kail observes. “I try to surround myself with people who can do things that I can’t do, and who are going to cause me, in their expertise, to be that much more excellent.” And how—not only did Miranda and Kail take home Tonys, so did the show’s choreographer, lighting and costume designers, and four of its performers.
As for working with the wildly inventive Miranda, Kail says, “When you have total trust that the other person is there to make you better and make you see things more clearly, it’s the ultimate in collaboration.” Performances of Hamilton begin Sept. 27
PhotograPhy by Joan Marcus