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Why Australia’s captivating stage show Hamilton is the new benchmark for musical theatre

The Weekly spends a thrilling day behind the scenes with the Hamilton cast.
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Before every performance of Hamilton, the cast comes together in a circle.

“It allows us to look into each other’s eyes and connect with those people you are going to share the stage with that night and beyond that it’s good to check in to see how people are, so if someone’s having a bad day we can rise up and support them,” explains Lyndon Watts who plays the quasi villain of the piece – Aaron Burr, the lawyer, politician and US Vice-President who – spoiler alert – kills the musical’s hero Alexander Hamilton.

The cast is the most diverse Australia has ever seen and as The Weekly discovered in an exclusive behind the scenes shoot, they’re a pretty special bunch.

“I’ve never had this kind of family dynamic in a show before,” says Marty Alix, the Hong Kong born son of Filipino parents who emigrated to Australia in 2004 and plays John Laurens and Philip Hamilton.

“The cast is exceptional” agrees Brent Hill, who plays mad King George III. “We have synergy, we trust each other, we love each other.”

Victory Ndukwe who plays Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson.

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

Shaka Cook, who plays Hercules Mulligan and James Madison.

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

That feeling pulsates through their high-energy performance and is also evident behind-the-scenes as our video reveals. When we gathered 10 of the stars of the show for a special story for our July issue they couldn’t stop laughing, joking, dancing and singing in-between shots.

Their passion for each other and the show is palpable and is reflected in audiences who can’t help but cheer and clap throughout performances.

Marty Alix, who plays John Laurens and Philip Hamilton.

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

Lyndon Watts, who plays Aaron Burr.

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

“It’s really quite captured the zeitgeist,” says Brent. “It’s because of the way that Lin [Manuel Miranda] has written the show,” adds Victory Ndukwe who plays one of the show’s most popular stars, the Marquis de Lafayette and also President Thomas Jefferson.

“He has infused urban culture with musical theatre and there’s nothing out there that’s like this.”

Jason Arrow, who plays Alexander Hamilton.

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

Elandrah Eramiha, who plays Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds.

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

The casting is also ground-breaking deliberately bringing to the stage actors from a wealth of diverse backgrounds to play characters who historically at least were mostly white.

“The idea is for colour conscious casting,” explains Lyndon.

“It’s about taking into account someone’s cultural background and beautiful rich history, and seeing what they bring to the table. Casting them with it, not despite it…

Hamilton is now a new way of casting, to Hamilton a project is to consciously represent the streets and the cities that you will be playing in.”

Chloé Zuel, who plays Eliza Hamilton

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

Brent Hill, who plays King George III.

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

Actor Shaka Cook, a proud Innawonga and Yindjibarndi man who plays the key roles of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison, says the show has been a real gamechanger for his career.

“It’s definitely going to open up a lot more doors for me and I’m excited for that. There is a special vibe when you get to work with people who are so gifted and have different backgrounds, different upbringings, different cultures.

“It enriches you as a person to learn something new and I think it’s amazing because this is what Australia is… this is what the world is… it’s so diverse and it needs to become a normal thing, because when you’re walking around the streets of Australia this is what you see.”

Akina Edmonds, who plays Angelica Schuyler.

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

Matu Ngaropo, who plays George Washington.

(Peter Brew-Bevan)

Hamilton is currently playing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre and will open in Melbourne at Her Majesty’s Theatre in March 2022.

Book tickets at hamiltonmusical.com.au

Read more interviews with the Hamilton cast with our exclusive behind the scenes shoot in the July issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly, on sale now.

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