The headline-making, record-breaking, award-winning Broadway smash Hamilton offers a timely look at our nation’s past and present … and an Oklahoma native plays a key part in the touring show.
Lawton’s Erin Clemons plays Eliza Hamilton, the female protagonist and wife of founding father Alexander Hamilton, whose life is depicted through a unique mixture of song, dance and rap. Clemons eagerly anticipates hitting the stage in her home state during the Aug. 20-Sept. 8 production at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
When people hear of her Oklahoma roots, Clemons says: “The first thing [they] usually do is sing me the theme song to Oklahoma!. Then, depending on their background, they are either shocked by the fact that I moved to New York to pursue theater … or, if they know a lot about theater or the schools in and around OKC, they say, ‘So many great theater people come from Oklahoma.’ They always want to know what it was like growing up here.”
As for the cultural lightning rod that is Hamilton, Clemons sings the musical’s praises.
“This show means so much to me, not just as a performer, but as a person,” she says. “I hope that everyone who sees it can take away something meaningful, something that can bring us all closer, some part of that theater magic that helps us all see we really aren’t that different from one another.”
Kristin Dotson, chief executive officer at Celebrity Attractions, adds; “Rarely does a show live up to the hype – and I can assure you Hamilton delivers. Telling a very important historical story through a very contemporary score … the combination has been a game changer for Broadway. Traditional musical theater audiences love the show – but more importantly, Hamilton is being embraced by newcomers to live theater.”
Performing for an Oklahoma audience is a poignant, emotional opportunity for Clemons.
“I’m thrilled to have my family come, my best friends from growing up in Lawton and my theater folk from the [University of Central Oklahoma],” she says. “Even though I’ve lived in New York now for almost eight years and performed on Broadway, there is no other feeling like coming home.
“Getting to perform in the theater where I saw my first national tour at 12 years of age is overwhelming. It’s like paying homage to the place that made you who you are.”