By Emma Sarran Webster| November 21, 2016 |
We caught up with the Hamilton cast to find out what they think of life in Chicago so far.
It’s safe to say that Chicagoans are really into Hamilton. Tickets for the Tony-winning musical’s run at the PrivateBank Theatre were snatched up at lightning speed when they first went on sale, and a few days before the show opened (on September 27), it was announced that the run would be extended by an extra 26 weeks.
The show is a cultural phenomenon and a massive hit, so it’s no surprise that members of the Chicago cast—now officially here until September 17, 2017—are already joining the ranks of beloved Windy City celebrities. Last month, they walked the red carpet at Swift & Sons alongside stars from Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Justice to help kick off the evening portion of NBC’s “One Chicago” day—which conveniently fell on a Monday night, the only night of the week Hamilton isn’t playing.
We took the opportunity to chat with cast members about their experiences around town.
The Hamilton cast came from New York and Los Angeles, so how do they feel about being temporary Chicagoans?
Ari Afsar and other Hamilton cast members.
“We’ve only been here for about six weeks, so now that we’re done with the rehearsal process and finally opened the show, we will start to figure out real life [in Chicago] and what that’s like. I look forward to exploring; I’ll go out and see some stuff.” Jonathan Kirkland, who plays George Washington
“I've done the architecture tour. This city is just phenomenal! We [spent] six weeks [rehearsing] in New York—and [here], the streets are wider, the streets are cleaner—I mean it's just a completely different city. It's really mind-blowing.” Ari Afsar, who plays Eliza Hamilton
“[Chicago’s] been so great for us. Everybody’s been embracing [us] and it’s really nice.” Joseph Morales, who is the alternate lead for Alexander Hamilton
In Chicago, we’re used to seeing Broadway shows—and their casts—come through for brief stints before moving on to the next tour stop. It’s far less common for shows to set up shop here for as long as Hamilton, but we’re not complaining. How do the actors feel about the extended show?
“I just got off of a tour, so it's nice to be set up and have my own spot, and know that I'm not [going to] be moving anywhere for a bit. It's a gift, because it doesn't happen a lot in theater. [You’re] usually [in one place for] a month or two months if you're on a tour. You're working for a year, but you're in a different city every week. So it's a gift, and to be in Chicago is awesome.” –Morales
Chicago has long been a theater town, but it’s recently added a booming TV scene to the creative mix. As shown by their presence on the NBC Chicago Day red carpet, the Hamilton cast is getting to experience both worlds.
Jonathan Kirkland in Hamilton.
“It’s cool! It's great to be in this atmosphere—it’s good people, it's a good vibes, and it's fun for me. I'm having a great time.” -Kirkland
“It’s an honor. It's really fantastic that Hamilton is able to collide with these two roads. A lot of the time, theater, TV, and film are very separate, and the fact that Hamilton is able to break the boundaries and really get into all the parts of entertainment is [great]. I'm glad we're reaping the benefits. It's amazing.” –Afsar