Hamilton Finally Comes to Austin, Texas

by Marika Flatt and Selena Swartzfager on May 22, 2019 in Entertainment, Theatre, Living Texas, Austin,
Joseph Morales and Company HAMILTON National Tour c Joan Marcus 2018 e1558459038607

With worldwide fans and nearly 800,000 followers on Twitter, and about the same on Facebook, Hamilton, the Broadway phenom, needs no introduction. (By the way, you can find trending hashtags for #Hamilmoms, #Hamilkids and #Hamilgrads among others.)

The famed hip-hop musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda finishes its run at San Antonio’s beautiful Majestic Theater this weekend before storming into Austin’s Bass Concert Hall on May 28, playing to what are sure to be packed houses through June 16.

(Find dates and tickets here. Savvy fans will also check TexasPerformingArts.org for late release seats at short notice. Tickets will not be sold by phone. And don’t forget Austin’s Bass Concert Hall has a clear bag policy.)

Known as a 2 hour, 45 minute history lesson palatable for all ages, people across the U.S. are clamoring for tickets to this A+ musical, almost no matter the cost!

Joseph Morales (left) as Hamilton and Marcus Choi as George Washington in the second national tour of Hamilton. Photo Joan Marcus

We had the pleasure of catching up with Erin Clemons, who first sang in front of an audience at the age of 9, and who is now playing the role of Eliza Hamilton in the Texas tour. This Oklahoma native and University of Central Oklahoma graduate’s other credits include Les Miserables, The Carole King Musical and Jesus Christ Superstar. (For a fun audio tour, take a listen to her version of The HamilCast here.)

Tell us what it means to you to be part of the cast of Hamilton.

It means a lot to me… and I am going to get emotional. Being a woman of mixed race (Caucasian and African American), being able to look around and see others on the stage that look like me is very unusual. Usually there are only one or two people of mixed race or African American in a show and they never are in lead parts. I am very blessed to be in a show with others that look like me.

From left, Shoba Narayan, TaRea Campbell and Nyla Sostre in the second national tour of Hamilton. Photo Joan Marcus

Why do you feel that Hamilton has touched such a nerve with Americans?

First, Manuel was a genius. When I saw the show on Broadway, I knew I was watching history… something was happening that had never happened on stage before in this way. The show incorporates music theatre with rap, pop, soliloquies like Shakespeare… this is kind of what rappers do, but the way he spun it all together was amazing. So many people come to the show saying they don’t like rap then leave saying, “This is amazing!”

What is your favorite scene in the musical?

On Broadway, when I used to cover the three sisters, my favorite was “Burn.” Now, playing the role of Eliza, my favorite scene is ”Helpless,” where I first meet Hamilton. The scene is so engaging and fun.

Are you looking forward to anything in particular in Austin?

My mom lives there, so I am looking forward to being with her. My favorite place in Austin to visit is Zilker Park. Austin is a feel-good city.  

Our magazine’s tagline is “Everything that makes living great in the Lone Star State.” How do you feel attending musicals plays into this mantra?

I love that. I think nowhere else can you come nowadays, turn off your phone or other device, and truly be engaged in an experience with other human beings in a situation that can change your life. There is no way that you can walk away from a musical like Hamilton unchanged. Every aspect of life is addressed in this musical.

Jon Patrick Walker as King George in the second national tour of Hamilton. Photo Joan Marcus

Being on stage seems so glamorous. What is the most challenging part of being part of a traveling cast?

Traveling can be challenging because every city has a different climate and with that can come allergies… I am constantly working with an ENT or allergist…  Allergy medications that you take to manage the symptoms cause dryness, which makes it hard to sing.

Are you aware that teachers are using Hamilton in their classrooms to teach subjects such as economics?

I did know that—my husband is a teacher—and it’s awesome. Eduham is a matinee where the audience is made up of only high school students. The students complete coursework in the classroom prior to attending the show.

In addition to being entertained, is there a lesson that you think people walk away from the show having learned?

This is a hard question because there are so many lessons. But I will focus on the one that is based on my character, Eliza. It shows that no matter what you have been through, there is always room for forgiveness, room to say I’m sorry and for accepting people for the way they are.

Hamilton in Texas: San Antonio at Majestic Theater: now through May 26; Austin at Bass Concert Hall:  May 28 – June 16; Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall: June 9 – 28, 2020; Houston’s Hobby Center: June 30-August 9, 2020

Ticket Tips & Bags Beware

1. TexasPerformingArts.org and Bass Concert Hall are the ONLY authorized sources for Hamilton tickets in Austin. If you purchase tickets from any other source, they cannot guarantee your seat.

2 Austin’s Bass Concert Hall has a clear bag policy. Details here.

3. For last minute tickets, check TexasPerformingArts.org for seats at short notice. Tickets will not be sold by phone.

Cover photo Joan Marcus