Hamilton announces ‘exceptionally talented and diverse’ cast for Australia production

The Guardian-2 months before

Miranda and the original creative team were “very involved” in handpicking the cast, said a spokesperson for production company the Michael Cassel Group. Arrow graduated from Perth performing arts school Waapa in 2016, and most recently performed in the ensemble of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and Aladdin.

He leads a principal cast comprised almost entirely of people of colour from Australia and New Zealand. When the show opens in Sydney in March it will retell the story of the American founding father in a “hip-hop musical” which took ...n.com/stage/broadway">Broadway by storm after premiering there in 2015.

Broadway Chloé Zuel, who most recently played Aragon in the Australian production of Six: The Musical and Anita in West Side Story, will be playing Eliza Schuyler; and Eliza’s sister Angelica will be played by New Zealand’s Akina Edmonds, who played Janelle Woods in Beautiful. Lyndon Watts (West Side Story, Sweet Charity, Singin’ in the Rain), whose father immigrated from the Caribbean, will play Aaron Burr.

George Washington will be played by Matu Ngaropo, also from New Zealand. Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson will be played by Victory Ndukwe. Innawonga actor Shaka Cook, who played Jasper Jones in Queensland Theatre Company’s 2014 production of the same name and Wangarra in the Sydney Theatre Company’s the Secret River, will be playing Hercules Mulligan and James Madison. John Laurens and Philip Hamilton will be played by Marty Alix, who won a Helpmann award for his beloved performance of Sonny in In The Heights. And Peggy will be played by Elandrah Eramiha, who doubles as Maria Reynolds. The only white principal cast member, Brent Hill (Dewey Finn in School of Rock) will play King George III.

Theatre American performer Jimmie “JJ” Jeter, who was understudy for Hamilton on Broadway and moved into the role before Covid hit this year, will be a standby for Hamilton, Burr, Lafayette/Jefferson and Laurens/Philip. Jeffery Duffy, who also toured in the US production, is among the diverse ensemble who completes the company of 35 performers.

“I am incredibly excited by the cast we have assembled,” Miranda said in an accompanying press release. “While theatres around the world have been forced to temporarily shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have taken this time to bring together a truly incredible ensemble to tell this story.

“Led by Jason Arrow as Alexander Hamilton, this cast has such incredible talent, warmth and power. I know they will thrill and move audiences in Sydney when it’s safe to return.”

The cast announcement comes amid renewed scrutiny over diversity in the Australian industry, after the Rob Guest Endowment was cancelled following its unveiling of a “uniformly white” longlist. As the musical theatre theatre community continued pushing for more equity and inclusion, another backlash accompanied the cast announcement of Pippin, which is importing American performer Gabrielle McClinton (The Leading Player) over local performers of colour who had auditioned.

was cancelled continued pushing for more equity and inclusion accompanied the cast announcement of Pippin Hamilton director Thomas Kail said: “I have been deeply impressed by the exceptionally talented and diverse candidates from all over Australia and New Zealand. The level of talent that will play in Sydney is first-rate – rivalling both Broadway and the West End. I cannot wait for audiences to watch this dynamic cast dazzle eight times a week.”

Hamilton is due to open on 17 March at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. The company line remains that it will be pushed back if it can’t open to a full capacity venue, but Covid-safe rehearsals will begin in January.

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