Hawaii actor subs as ‘Hamilton’ in Chicago production
Joseph Morales is the Alexander Hamilton alternate in the Chicago company of “Hamilton,” while another isle performer is rehearsing for a March debut in San Francisco.
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A Hawaii actor is the Alexander Hamilton alternate in the Chicago company of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s megahit, “Hamilton.” Another isle performer is rehearsing for a March debut in the “Hamilton” ensemble in San Francisco.
Joseph Morales, 33, is the alternate in the Chicago cast. He subs in for lead actor Miguel Cervantes at least once a week in the production that bowed Aug. 6 at the PrivateBank Theatre in the Windy City, where it continues to draw capacity crowds.
“I play Hamilton the last show of every week, usually Sundays,” Morales said via email. “It’s demanding, so they always cast two actors for the role. When I’m not playing Hamilton, I’m on standby backstage. I’ve gone on every week since we’ve opened; it’s been the most rewarding experience of my life.”
Morales earned his acting creds under the tutelage of the late Ron Bright. He earlier portrayed Usnavi, the lead role in Miranda’s award-winning “In the Heights” (four Tonys) in the show’s first touring company. Thus, “Hamilton,” which copped 11 Tonys in June, is Morales’ second brush with Miranda’s theatrical successes.
“I’m so grateful to be part of this show, surrounded by a cast and crew of super humans,” he said. “I was on tour with ‘If/Then,’ starring Idina Menzel, during auditions, but flew to New York for callbacks with the team. It’s a very specific show with specific needs; they auditioned thousands of people all over the country. I fought for it; I think most of us did.”
His last Hawaii show was Lisa Matsumoto’s “Once Upon One Kapakahi Time,” at the Hawaii Theatre. “I’m long overdue for a visit (home),” he said. In the weeks ahead, his former Ohia Productions chums (Matsumoto’s company and players) will take in “Hamilton” in Chicago.
“Right now, I’m focused on Chicago and enjoying the ride,” he said, despite the bitter winter cold. He might consider other options, as more tours are slated.
Chicago, however, is an open-ended show, meaning it’ll stay put as long as the box-office clout continues. …
Meanwhile, Daniel Ching, another Honolulan, is in New York rehearsing for an ensemble role in “Hamilton” prior to a 21-week run (March 10 through Aug. 5) at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, followed by a similar trek to Los Angeles. Ching is a 2010 grad of Mid-Pacific’s School of the Arts and last year earned a bachelor of fine arts in dance at Juilliard. …
LEGACY AWARD FOR SOCIETY OF SEVEN
Tony Ruivivar and his Society of Seven group are marking their 50th anniversary this year. It was in 1967 that Ruivivar and his band, then called the Fabulous Echoes, arrived in the islands from Hong Kong to launch and establish a successful residency here.
Ruivivar was in town recently, with former SOS manager Fran Kirk, to receive the 2017 Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Legacy Award from the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association — a nice perk to coinciding with the golden anniversary. Mufi Hannemann, president of the visitor industry organization and a longtime fan of the SOS, announced the award at a luncheon at the Sheraton Waikiki.
“It was a secret, even Bert (Bert Sagum, co-founder of the group) didn’t know about the award,” said Ruivivar later at a dinner at the Ala Moana Assaggio restaurant.
For 46 of those 50 years, Ruivivar led and fueled extravagant productions, usually featuring montages from Broadway musicals, at the Main Showroom of the Outrigger Waikiki, where Blue Note Hawaii now resides. “Hawaii has always been our home, and even though we are now based in Las Vegas, we still promote Hawaii wherever we perform,” he said. …
NAMES ‘N’ PLACES
Hawaii actress B.K. Cannon guests on NBC’s “Chicago Fire” at 9 p.m. Tuesday. …
A celebration of life for Keo Woolford will be held Saturday at Ko‘olau Ballrooms in Kaneohe. The filmmaker-dancer-kumu hula-actor died Nov. 28 at 49. Visitation will be from 8 a.m., with a program at 10 a.m. and fellowship at 11 a.m. …
And that’s “Show Biz.” …
Wayne Harada is a veteran Honolulu entertainment columnist. Reach him at 266-0926 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.