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Daniel Boys delighted to help bring Hamilton to Manchester

Daniel Boys as King George in Hamilton 
(Picture: Danny Kaan)
Daniel Boys as King George in Hamilton (Picture: Danny Kaan)

IT is one of the most highly-anticipated show in recent memory and yet, as one of its stars admits, on paper it probably shouldn’t work.

Hamilton is a blockbuster of a musical and it is now at Manchester’s Palace Theatre for a 12-week run - part of a tour which sees it playing to theatres around the country for the first time.

The story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of America at the time of the American Revolution, with a soundtrack which combines hip hop, jazz, blues and classic Broadway show tunes is an unlikely success story.

Lancashire Telegraph: HAMILTON TOUR. Maya Britto, Aisha Jawando and Gabriela Benedetti. Photo by Danny Kaan
Lancashire Telegraph: HAMILTON TOUR. Maya Britto, Aisha Jawando and Gabriela Benedetti. Photo by Danny Kaan

“Even though it sounds as if it shouldn’t work, it really does,” said Daniel Boys, who plays King George in the show. “From the moment it starts you are just in the show 100 per cent. As you hear the songs you are so invested in the characters, you absolutely want to know what’s going to happen.

“I understand some people might think ‘why would I want to see a show about early American political history?’ but there is so much more to it.

“It’s a show which resonates deeply with audiences. It’s about revolution and fighting for your rights, it’s about the power of people coming together for a common cause, it’s a celebration of freedom and democracy!”

Read also: Review - Hamilton the show that redefines the musical

It also helps that it is brilliantly written and features memorable songs - both from Lin-Manuel Miranda. Olivier, Tony and Grammy awards and even a Pulitzer prize are testament to that.

“It’s one of those musicals you see and love and come away thinking ‘I want to see it again’,” said Daniel. “It’s so quick, so powerful and so in your face that there will be bits you miss or don’t quite understand. But that really doesn’t matter.

“We have been lucky to have had all the original creators of the show come over from American to talk to us and they said that they don’t expect people to fully understand the political side of it.

“But you’re not going to sit there going ‘ I have absolutely no clue what’s going on here’. That’s not going to happen. You’ll just be hooked.”

As King George trying to keep a tight reign on this revolting colony - Daniel is very much the villain of the piece.

Lancashire Telegraph: Shaq Taylor as Hamilton and company and (below) Charles Simmons as George Washington                                                                           (Pictures: Danny Kaan)
Lancashire Telegraph: Shaq Taylor as Hamilton and company and (below) Charles Simmons as George Washington (Pictures: Danny Kaan)

“He is such a fun character to play,” he said. “He’s really the main antagonist. He is convinced the colonies will not be successful and has no doubt that they will come running back to him.

“He’s arrogant and so smug. That’s a joy to play. All he does is take the mickey out of Americans but he’s also a buffoon and a bit of a clown. Perhaps audiences see some similarities with some more modern figures in that.”

Daniel has been part of some big West End productions including Spamalot, Avenue Q and Rent. He has also toured in Grease, West Side Story and Sunset Boulevard. But Hamilton is a show which has always wanted to be part of.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be in the show,” he said. “I have a smile on my face whenever I think about it because been such a fan of the musical since the album first came out.

“The first time I heard it I thought ‘what is this?’. It’s so unlike any other musical out there; it is ground-breaking in the way it’s been written and the use of different styles of music.

“I just fell in love with it. I couldn’t wait for it to come to London and I saw the original cast. I was blow away by it.

“For years I’ve been thinking ‘I would absolutely love to be in Hamilton’ and finally I am. When I got that phone call to say I’d got it, I’m not going to lie, I actually cried. I was so excited.”

Lancashire Telegraph: HAMILTON TOUR. Maya Britto, Aisha Jawando and Gabriela Benedetti. Photo by Danny Kaan
Lancashire Telegraph: HAMILTON TOUR. Maya Britto, Aisha Jawando and Gabriela Benedetti. Photo by Danny Kaan

As King George, Daniel is actually not on stage for much of the show, but his character has a big impact on the audience.

“In rehearsal they kept telling me ‘you won’t fully appreciate it until you get an audience in front of you’ and they were right,” he said.

“At one point everyone else goes off stage and I am alone singing to the audience, looking directly at them. I get to effectively play with the audience - I’m really looking forward to seeing how different audiences react as we go round the country.”

If Daniel’s name rings a bell it may be because you remember him from being one of the finalists on Any Dream Will Do, the BBC’s search to find a new Joseph for the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which was won by Lee Mead.

“That was in 2007 and yet people still talk about it,” he said. “There had been a show to find a new Maria for the Sound of Music but this was the first all-boys reality show like that. I certainly don’t have any regrets about doing it.

“Actually I’m proud of putting myself through it. I’d been to drama school and had been in productions before so it could have completely backfired. But I used it as an opportunity. I wanted to be Joseph and thought if that’s the audition process I’ll go for it.

“I really didn’t expect to get anywhere near the TV show stage and I’d say it helped my career if anything.”

Hamilton is enjoying an extended run in Manchester until February 24.

“When you are on tour you never usually get the chance to unpack your bags. The longest I’ve stayed in Manchester before now was two weeks with Sunset Boulevard but with this I finally get the chance to live and breathe Manchester.

“I still have to pinch myself that I’m part of this show. It’s been a tough few years for our industry and as you get older you do wonder if it’s maybe time to do something else.

“So to get such an incredible show is special; it’s a validation in a way and probably means more to me that people will ever know.”

Hamilton is at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until Saturday, February 24. Details from www.atgtickets.com