Hamilton's Andrew Wojtol :: Not Missing His Shot

by Lisa Lipsey

Rage Monthly

Tuesday December 26, 2017

If it feels like you have waited forever for the smash-hit musical that swept the 2015 Tony Awards to come to the West Coast, imagine yourself as Hamilton playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda; he started crafting songs for what he called his "Hamilton Mixtape" in 2008.

While Miranda focused on Alexander Hamilton, the story and the events involve all our nation's founding fathers and key leaders, from all sides

of the American Revolution. Miranda's medium is a mixture of hip-hop, pop, blues, jazz and traditional musical theatre. History comes alive with period set and costumes, but Miranda keeps it relevant through modern language and a cast rich in diversity, reflecting the faces of today's United States. The show honors the immigrant, the rebel, the hard worker who goes from rags to riches. Alexander Hamilton is perhaps the origin of the American Dream, a young immigrant arriving to New York after being orphaned in the Caribbean, who ends up as General Washington's right-hand man and the founding Secretary of Treasury. Still, this tale isn't nearly as glamourous as it is fascinating, with all its battles, duels, politics, family, affairs and all the stuff of life.

If you ring in the New Year with Broadway San Diego's production of "Hamilton" you will catch CalArts graduate Andrew Wojtal dancing his booty off in the ensemble. This red-headed cutie hails from Maine and loves modern dance. His first Broadway song and dance role was in the recent revival of "Fiddler on the Roof" and, as luck would have it, Wojtal was then asked to audition for the first national touring cast of "Hamilton."

"I was a wacky, weird, modern dance boy, rolling around in milk, reciting poems from 18th Century poets. Then, in May 2016, a dancer in 'Fiddler on the Roof' tore their ACL, I got a call and I auditioned. When the show closed, a group of 'Fiddler' dancers were invited to audition for the Hamilton tour. It was the most intense process, six auditions," recalls Wojtal.

Most recently, he has been performing with the "Hamilton" cast in L.A. "I knew there was a craze, I was familiar with the popularity of the show, but I had no idea what to expect. Premiering in L.A. was an eye-opening experience, this star-studded audience was screaming at us! We have done this show 250 times and every time, we have a standing ovation or an uproar... who gets that in life?"

"Doing that many shows wears physically on the body," he continues. "What pulls you through one end of the show to the other is on one side the audience, the other side is the cast. This is something we all believe in, the message, the product, the music, the work and the magic that happens."

"There is so much you can literally connect from this show to life," offers Wojtal enthusiastically. "Messages about unity, independence, staying

true to yourself, encouraging them to embrace the weird. That weird could be seedling and those are the things that set us apart. Find your identity in the midst of a world that will try to pull you in a lot of different directions."

He believes in both hard work and play, but Wojtal's secret is following that non-stop perseverance Hamilton inspires, "I think we are dealt a lot of bullshit in life, this past year was not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination. It is important to be reminded that hard work is integral to success; so is imagination, and so is play. History teaches us that our founding fathers had a strong sense of themselves, and that it was just how they were put on this earth. But, that isn't quite true. Our job every day is to ask, 'Who am I, and what am I working toward?' Have a conversation with yourself each day."

Broadway San Diego's production of "Hamilton" runs Saturday, January 6 through Sunday, January 28 at the San Diego Civic Theatre. For tickets and more informa- tion call 619.564.3000, or go tobroadwaysd.com

Copyright Rage Monthly. For more articles from Rage visit www.ragemonthly.com