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Hamilton Australia cast features performers of diverse heritage

Darby Ingram -

The highly anticipated cast of the Australian production of Hamilton has been announced, including three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers.

With first shows opening in March 2021, the diverse company represents cultural backgrounds from across the world.

Hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, an American Founding Father and promoter of the United States' Constitution as well as the founder of the Federalist Party and the nation's financial system.

The Tony, Grammy, Olivier and Pulitzer Prize winning stage show premiered on Broadway in August 2015 to wide critical acclaim.

Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, the musical experience has had a profound impact on culture, politics and education.

The Australian production will be led by Jason Arrow as Alexander Hamilton, Mauritian-Australian actress Chloe Zuel as Eliza Hamilton and Caribbean-Australian actor Lyndon Watts as Hamilton's political rival Aaron Burr.

Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson will be played by Victory Ndukwa, Aotearoa/New Zealand born Akina Edmonds who is of Māori and Japanese heritage will play Angelica Shuyler and Māori actor Matu Ngaropo will take on the role of George Washington.

Other backgrounds represented in the cast include Italian, South African, Samoan, Filipino, Nigerian and Jamaican.

Proud Innawonga man Shaka Cook is the only Aboriginal performer in the principal cast and will play the roles of both Hercules Mulligan and James Madison.

Cook is known for his performances as Wangarra in The Secret River (Sydney Theatre Company), Fingerbone Bill in Storm Boy (Sydney Theatre Company), Jasper Jones in Jasper Jones (Queensland Theatre Company) and his appearance in Black Diggers (Queensland Theatre Company).

His training includes a Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA). Beyond the stage Cook has appeared in television series Black Comedy (ABC) and movies including The Flood and Top End Wedding.

Wiradjuri man Callan Purcell will be standby for the roles of Alexander Hamilton, Lafayette/Jefferson, Laurens/Philip, and King George III.

Purcell also works as a director, playwright and actor and his training includes a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Acting CDT from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Joining the ensemble is Torres Strait Islander man, Tainga Savage. Savage has a Cert IV in Aboriginal Performance and a Diploma of Acting with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

He has performed in Bran Nue Dae (Opera Australia) as well as Schools Spectacular, the welcoming performance for British Royals William and Kate (Aboriginal Dance Company), Yabun Festival and The Greatest Showman/Arabian Nights/Havana Nights (Carmelo Pizzino).

Hamilton begins performances at Sydney Lyric Theatre from Wednesday, 17 March 2021.

By Darby Ingram

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