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Chicago Run of 'Hamilton' Announces Opening Leads

Hamilton is coming to Chicago, and the Tony Award-winning play has announced Karen Olivo, Miguel Cervantes, and Alexnader Gemignani as its headliners.
The "Hamilton" marquee at the Richard Rogers Theatre in New York.
The "Hamilton" marquee at the Richard Rogers Theatre in New York.Evan Agostini / AP

"Hamilton" is coming to Chicago, and the Tony Award-winning play announced its headliners for the Windy City run Wednesday. Actors Karen Olivo, Miguel Cervantes, and Alexander Gemignani will be playing Angelica Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton, and King George III respectively.

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Olivo won a Tony Award for her performance as Anita in the revival of “West Side Story” and is also played the original Vanessa in Tony Award-winning “In the Heights,” which was also written by "Hamilton" writer Lin-Manuel Miranda. Cervantes has been featured in Broadway plays “If/Then,” “American Idiot,” and “25th Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Gemignani, whose father is American musical director Paul Gemignani, played Jean Valjean in the 2006 revival of “Les Misérables.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda's final performance of "Hamilton" on Broadway on July 9, 2016 in New York City.Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images

Other notable cast additions include former “American Idol” contest Ari Afsar (Eliza Hamilton), Chris Lee (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jeferson), Jose Ramos (John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton), Joseph Morales (Alexander Hamilton alternate), Wallace Smith (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison), and Samantha Marie Ware (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds).

The Chicago Hamilton announcement follows a minor casting controversy earlier in 2016. According to the New York Times, a casting call in March for the New York and subsequent American tours of Hamilton posted a notice that was specifically “seeking nonwhite men and women” for the various roles. After the language of the casting notice was criticized by several entities, including the Actors’ Equity Association, the notice was replaced with less restrictive language.

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The news also followed Miranda's the final performance as Alexander Hamilton in the show's Broadway run on July 9. That performance was also the final performance for actors Philippa Soo and Leslie Odom Jr., who portrayed Eliza Hamilton and Aaron Burr respectively.

Chicago's "Hamilton" run will begin Sept. 27 at Chicago’s PrivateBank Theatre.

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