Hamilton reveals cast 'exceptionally talented and diverse' for Australia production
Newcomer Jason Arrow selected star by Lin-Manuel Miranda, heading a cast composed almost entirely of Australian and New Zealand colored citizens
In the most awaited Australian cast announcement in recent memory, Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash hit musical Hamilton's Australian production was revealed, with Alexander Hamilton's title role, originated by Miranda, being played by relative newcomer Jason Arrow.
Miranda and the original design team were "really interested," a spokeswoman for the Michael Cassel Group production company said. Arrow graduated from Perth performing arts school Waapa in 2016 and recently appeared in Beautiful's ensemble: Carole King Musical, and Aladdin.
He leads a cast comprising almost exclusively of Australian and New Zealand colored citizens. As the show opens in Sydney in March, it will retell the American founding father's story in a "hip-hop opera" that took Broadway by storm since 2015 's premiere.
Chloé Zuel, who recently played Aragon in Six: The Musical and Anita in West Side Story, will play 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 left the Caribbean, will play Aaron Burr.
George Washington plays Matu Ngaropo, also from New Zealand. Victory Ndukwe plays Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. Innawonga actor Shaka Cook, who played Jasper Jones in the 2014 production of the Queensland Theater Company and Wangarra in the Hidden River of the Sydney Theater Company, will play Hercules Mulligan and James Madison. John Laurens and Philip Hamilton will play Marty Alix, who received a Helpmann award for his beloved Sonny role in In The Heights. And Elandrah Eramiha, doubling as Maria Reynolds, will play Peggy. The only white cast member, Brent Hill (Dewey Finn in Rock School), will play King George III.
For Hamilton, Burr, Lafayette / Jefferson and Laurens / Philip, American actor Jimmie "JJ" Jeter, who was understudy for Hamilton on Broadway and stepped into part before Covid hit this year. Jeffery Duffy, who also toured in US production, is among the dynamic ensemble that completes 35 artists.
"I'm extremely excited for the cast we've assembled," Miranda said in a press release. "While theaters across the world were forced to briefly shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we used this opportunity to put together an amazing cast to tell this story.
"Led by Jason Arrow like Alexander Hamilton, it has such incredible creativity, warmth and strength. I know they'll entertain and transfer viewers back in Sydney when it's safe.
The cast announcement comes in the wake of increased criticism of diversity in the Australian musical theater culture, after the Rob Guest Endowment was scrapped following its release of a longlist "uniformly white." As the musical theater world began to press for greater diversity and equality, another backlash followed Pippin's cast announcement importing American actress Gabrielle McClinton (The Supporting Player) over local color actors who had auditioned.
Hamilton director Thomas Kail said: "I was extremely fascinated by the extraordinarily talented and diverse applicants from Australia and New Zealand. Talent standard playing in Sydney is first-rate – rivaling both Broadway and West End. I can't wait eight days a week to see this diverse ensemble dazzle.
Hamilton will debut on March 17 at Sydney Lyric Theatre. The line remains that if it can not open up to a maximum capacity venue, it will be moved back, but Covid-safe rehearsals will begin in January.
Additional performances will go on sale at 10 am on Friday, November 13, with production now booking until September 2021.