It’s conceivable that just a few years ago, the most that the average person on the street might have been able to tell you about Alexander Hamilton was that he was the guy on the $10 bill. That’s changed thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda and his Broadway sensation, “Hamilton.” The national tour of the musical is in production at the Fox Theatre now and features a number of performers from right here in Georgia.
Ensemble member Jennifer Geller hails from Marietta and previously toured with another musical co-written by Miranda, “Bring It On.”
Augusta-born Chris DeSean Lee, who plays both Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, had already been in two productions of Miranda’s show “In The Heights” when a friend forced him to listen to the “Hamilton” soundtrack.
“It forever changed my life,” he tells City Lights host Lois Reitzes. “I was a SUPER fan, I loved ‘Hamilton.’ I was obsessed.”
This is Lee’s second production of the show, having been part of the original Chicago cast. Having been in “Bring It On,” Geller had already worked with some of the same creative team, notably choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler.
“A lot of times, the ensemble is embodying a character,” she says, “so every step we do has meaning and there’s intention behind it.”
That sort of unity, which could be read into the show’s broader themes of diversity and inclusion, extends even to the final curtain call, as Jennifer points out. The entire cast takes their bows at once, with no one taking precedence over the other.
The Atlanta stop on this national tour will be Lee’s final performances with the company, as he’ll be busy filming the second season of the Showtime series “The Chi.” He says he is taking away a lot of history lessons from the show.
“The spirit in which you built something is the spirit in which that thing lives,” Lee says. “The country was founded on so many principles and so many laborers who were treated unfairly. And the only way to eradicate any evils that we feel are in it is to be willing to rebuild from the ground up.”
“Hamilton” continues its run at the Fox Theatre through June 10.
This story originally appeared with an audio interview on WABE.org.