Theatre fans flooded into BroadwayCon’s Mainstage January 29 for the much-anticipated Hamilton: The Next Administration panel. The principal cast from the Broadway production—Mandy Gonzalez, Michael Luwoye, Jordan Fisher, J. Quinton Johnson, Bryan Terrell Clark, Taran Killam, Brandon Victor Dixon, Seth Stewart, Alysha Deslorieux, and Lexi Lawson—were joined onstage by moderator Mo Rocca, and via video chat by Chicago cast members Chris Lee, Miguel Cervantes, Ari Afsar, and Jose Ramos.
They screamed, cried, and hugged strangers—how the stars reacted when they found out they’d booked Hamilton…
Rocca asked the cast: Where were you when you found out you’d booked the show?
Here are their answers:
Dixon: “I was actually in a show [Shuffle Along] when I got the news, and I thought: ‘What does this mean?’… Then the show closed the next day.”
Deslorieux: “I was in a down place—in the middle of a breakup, and I really needed some good news. My agent called me, and I just started crying.”
Lawson: “I screamed so loud. It definitely sounded like someone was being murdered.”
Lee: “I was in Walmart buying some coco butter, and I got the phone call and dropped my phone and the butter. I went up to this older lady and shook her and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in Hamilton.’ She screamed.”
Ramos: “My wife’s reaction [was better]. I called her and said: ‘Hey. We’re going to move to Chicago. I got the job.’ She said: ‘Let me call you right back.’ She called her job and said: ‘Hey, y’all, I quit.’”
Luwoye: “I was doing a catering job and was putting on my tuxedo when my agent called.”
READ MORE: MICHAEL LUWOYE AUDITIONED FOR MULLIGAN AND WAS CAST AS HAMILTON
Gonzalez, who currently stars as Angelica Schuyler at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, announced that the Broadway production will increase the number of $10 front-row lottery tickets available. Beginning January 31, the online lottery will more than double, increasing the number of tickets on offer from 21 to 46.
READ MORE: BROADWAY HAMILTON INCREASING NUMBER OF $10 LOTTERY TICKETS
Hamilton isn’t just recounting history, it’s a part of it…
All of the cast spoke to the show’s lasting relevance, and its ability to transcend time and space. “Even though this show depicts the past, when you’re in the audience, the present is so top of mind,” said Rocca. The cast agreed that certain themes in the show have resounded more with audiences in light of recent political events: Lines like “immigrants, we get the job done,“ and “I'm 'a compel him to include women in the sequel!“ have prompted strong reactions from the audience.
Clark, who plays George Washington in the Broadway production, recalled his first performance at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and singing “One Last Time“ at the same time that Barack Obama was giving his last address. “It’s a powerful gift, as an artist, to be working on a show that allows you to get this stuff out—when your life meets your art,” he told the crowd. He said that he was so overwhelmed with emotion, his voice was shaking and his hands were trembling.
Cervantes, who plays Alexander Hamilton in the Chicago staging, had a similar experience on Election Day, November 8, 2016. “This emotion erupted out of me that I couldn’t have anticipated,” he said. “Living in this country right now, it’s very hard sometimes to differentiate what Alexander Hamilton is feeling and what Miguel is feeling.”
The fans continue to inspire the cast on so many levels…
Lawson, who plays Eliza Schuyler in the Broadway production, said that the most touching fan letter she’d received was from a 97-year-old woman. The older fan wrote her and said that Eliza was her inspiration in life. She’d lost her husband 50 years ago and has continued to do things in his memory and to preserve his legacy.
Gonzalez is continuing a tradition started by original cast member Renée Elise Goldsberry—that of hanging fan art in the Schuyler Sister hallway backstage. “You can really feel the love from the fans,” she said.
For Dixon, the best fan mail is baked goods. The cast recently received a mix of pies care of Jessie Mueller, who is starring in Waitress at the nearby Brooks Atkinson Theatre. “She’s a unicorn,” he told the crowd.
The Hamilton stars were, and still are, theatre fans…
Rocca asked the cast: “What was the first show you were obsessed with?”
Here are their answers:
Gonzalez: West Side Story
Dixon: Les Misérables
Killam: Les Misérables
Johnson: In the Heights
Fisher: Once on this Island
Cervantes: Into the Woods
Lee: In the Heights
Ramos: In the Heights and West Side Story
Rocca also asked the cast: “What show on Broadway are you most looking forward to seeing next?“
Here are their answers:
Lawson: Dear Evan Hansen
Dixon: Jitney again, Dear Evan Hansen, and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Killam: Present Laughter
Clark: Dear Evan Hansen, Jitney, Miss Saigon
Johnson: The Phantom of the Opera
Fisher: Hello, Dolly!
Afsar: Dear Evan Hansen
Cervantes: Dear Evan Hansen
Lee: Dear Evan Hansen
Ramos: Dear Evan Hansen