Morales thrilled to play Hamilton, even if it’s once a week
Though he takes the lead only on Sundays, local actor Joseph Morales has already reached a career high point in the Chicago production of “Hamilton.”
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Though he takes on the leading role of Alexander Hamilton only on Sundays in the Chicago production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s megahit “Hamilton,” local actor Joseph Morales, 33, already has reached a career high point.
The show is a hit at the Private Bank Theatre on Monroe Street here. Although Morales’ big “shot” is a once-a-week thing, — he’s the alternate to lead actor Miguel Cervantes — it’s a rare achievement. He’s the lone islander playing in “Hamilton,” the must-see prevailing box office champ in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, with premieres awaiting in Los Angeles, Seattle and London.
I saw his spirited performance, from $180 orchestra seats, instead of the second-to-the-last-row experience ($750 per) a summer ago at New York’s Richard Rodgers Theatre. “Hamilton” still grosses $3 million-plus weekly. And trust me, up-close-and-personal is the only way to go.
“Once a week is great,” Morales said after his performance. “I’m committed to stay on till October, but we’ll see what happens then.”
It’s a thrilling experience to be close, especially when a local kid is in the spotlight. Morales — complete with wig and colonial costume — has accomplished and defined his own Hamilton, not missing a beat in rapping to the contagious rhythms and story-moving lyrics.
Colleagues from ‘Ohi‘a Productions, where he performed in the late Lisa Matsumoto’s pidgin musicals decades ago, have watched him, too.
He arranged an after-show onstage visit for my wife, Vi, and me. I brought a care package of Hawaii macadamia nuts, tucked in a tote with a Spam musubi motif.
“Oh, I love Spam musubi,” he said. Shoulda packed a couple of tins of them, darn it.
He said he intends to visit family and friends in August — and get his Spam musubi fix. Should be a hero’s welcome, considering how hot and mighty “Hamilton” remains. …
A BORGES SPECIAL, BACK HOME
The late Jimmy Borges, the beloved jazz warbler who so wanted to perform at the Blue Note Hawaii club but couldn’t because of failing health, will receive a fitting tribute July 30 at the showroom at the Outrigger Waikiki hotel. It’s billed as the First Annual Jimmy Borges All-Star Jazz Festival and coincides with the formal installation of a Borges medallion on one of the tables, the first Hawaii star to earn that distinction.
“I know that Jimmy would have been so touched. … Now he knows he will always be at the club in spirit and name,“ said his widow, Vicki Borges.
Shari Lynn, Loretta Ables Sayre, Kip Wilborn and Willie K will sing and share reflections of the late crooner. The one-time-only performance is set for 6:30 p.m.; Shari will emcee.
The all-star backup band will include Jim Howard (piano), Noel Okimoto (drums), Mike Lewis (trumpet), Rocky Holmes (saxophone) and Dean Taba (bass).
Proceeds will benefit the Jimmy Borges Endowed Scholarship in Vocal Music at the University of Hawaii. Charles Mukaida, the first recipient and a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant, will perform. Earlier this year he sang at the Spring Song Art Festival at the Manhattan School of Music.
Tickets: $45 premium, $35 loge, at 777-4890. Dinner service available from 5 p.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.