thefederalistfreestyle: Founding Father: ‘Hamilton’ Star…

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016


Founding Father: ‘Hamilton’ Star Daveed Diggs on Being in the Room Where It Happens (Observer):

Soon after the Super Bowl, Mr. Diggs received a demo version of Hamilton, in which Mr. Miranda had performed all the songs himself and recorded beats on GarageBand. “It was immediately the best thing I’ve ever heard,” he told me. “I just told them, ‘What do I have to do to be a part of this? Do I need to learn how to sing? Never done that. What do you want from me?’ ” But he already knew the answer.

“I have this thing. I can rap really fast. I can rap really, really fast. It’s a thing I’m good at and I’ve trained myself to do; it’s a thing I do in the Bay Area. Lin likes writing for me because I can do things he can’t. He can write these things he can’t do, but which I find technically pretty easy.”

Few of the rappers Mr. Diggs grew up admiring, however—3 Stacks, Twista, E-40 and Ace Rock—had ever spoken about a secret ambition to one day perform one block up from the cast of Les Miserables. Mr. Diggs grew up in Oakland, Calif., the son of a Jewish mother and a black father. Unlike founding father Jefferson, Mr. Diggs got himself an Ivy League education at Brown, where he was recruited for track and broke the school’s 110-meter hurdle record as a sophomore (which came in handy when it was time to perform those high jumps in Hamilton) and majored in theater. His stage career, however, was divorced from his musical ambition: he only appeared in “straight” plays, and had his sights more on clipping.’s record deal with Sub Pop than striding across the stages of the world’s most famous theater district. The closest he used to come to Broadway in his early years in New York, more than a decade ago, was passing underneath Times Square on the IRT, where, as a recent graduate with a $100 a week in unemployment benefits, he would sometimes ride the 2 train at night instead of crashing at a friend’s pad.

But then came clipping. and a modicum of success on the West Coast, and, of course, being close enough to Mr. Manuel that he was in “the room where it happened” that night in New Orleans when he found out about the tapes and knew that he had to be a part of Hamilton.

He was offered to come and perform an early trial run of the show—a staged reading at Vassar, and then periodic callings after that for other workshops of the production. At any moment, he assumed, he would be dropped for someone who knew what he was doing. “I always assumed I was just a placeholder,” Mr. Diggs recalled. He was on tour with Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s choreopoem Word Become Flesh when the call came to do the production off-Broadway at the Public. “I was like, ‘That’s awesome, I’m finally going to be able to do this thing…and then they’ll find somebody else for Broadway,’ ” Mr. Diggs remembered.

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The First Lady Delivers Remarks at “Hamilton at the White…

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

The First Lady Delivers Remarks at “Hamilton at the White House” Workshop

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