As the Broadway musical industry heads into its third year of production, a number of key performers are making their mark as they move to the front lines of the musical world.
One of the most recognizable faces of the industry is Count Basie, whose work includes such classics as “Trouble in Mind” and “The Color Purple,” and he recently appeared in a new Broadway production of “The Nutcracker” on the Disney Channel.
Now, for the first time, we’re taking a look at how he performed the opening night of “Hamilton” — and the performance that really counts, as he put it, “was a miracle.”
In the first episode of the new Broadway musical, “Hamilton,” Hamilton’s brother George (Mackenzie Davis) and his friend Aaron (Jeffrey Tambor) play an evening of wine and dine at a dinner party at the palace.
But before they can begin their dinner, a woman arrives at the table with a request.
“Are you going to make it up to me, please?” she asks.
George agrees to help, but before he can finish his drink, he’s surrounded by three young men, all dressed in black.
The men then start shooting, and one of them, George, is shot in the chest.
The rest of the party begins to leave, and George runs away, crying in terror.
As the story of “the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen” unfolds, viewers are given a behind-the-scenes look at the shooting of George, the night he was shot and how the rest of his group managed to escape the gunfire.
In a time of heightened scrutiny, and with heightened concern over the health and safety of our community, the creators of “Hercules in Love” were inspired to bring the story to life.
As the playwright and producer, Stephen Colbert, told the Daily Beast, the shooting was a “huge wake-up call.”
When Colbert and his team approached the show’s production company, they wanted to “find a way to be able to say this is not just about a couple of guys being killed and a woman being stabbed and having their whole family killed, but that’s not what’s happening in the world at all.”
So the team enlisted actor and producer Michaela Watkins, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and longtime advocate for the LGBT community, to join the team.
“We knew she was a talented actor,” Watkins said.
“She was a wonderful actress, and she had a real talent for portraying women in drama.
We wanted to have her on the show.
She knew exactly what she wanted to do, and we knew what we wanted to get out of it.”
While there were plenty of challenges in terms of scheduling, Watkins said, the production team was able to take a page from the show “in terms of what we felt was a powerful moment.”
The group also wanted to create a “safe space” for the audience to come together.
“I think we wanted people to feel safe and to feel welcome,” Watkins told The Hill.
“The only people that were really scared were the people that didn’t know how to react.”
During the shooting, Watkins recalled, the team was on the lookout for actors who would not fit the role.
The producers then brought in the director of photography, a man with a background in music videos.
Watkins said he immediately noticed a strong presence in the actors, who were all very professional.
“The director was in blackface, and he was standing right next to the actors.
They were all dressed very well, and they were all so professional and respectful,” she said.”
You can’t get too caught up in the costumes, because it’s really just about the actors.”
The production team also brought in a makeup artist, a lighting technician, and a sound designer.
Watkins was especially proud of how “Hamilton’s” cast members were able to perform their roles, especially during the dramatic moments.
“It was really exciting to have a group of people that knew their own bodies, and were able do their own makeup,” she recalled.
“There was a lot of care and thought that went into it.
It was really, really amazing.”
The actors’ performance was not always perfect.
Watkins and her team knew it would be difficult to keep everyone in line, so they had to work around it.
In addition to the men and women who were shot, “Hecate” had a few other performers — including a man who was killed by a stray bullet — who were not on set for the shooting.
“We knew that we were going to have to work with those guys, but we also knew we could make them comfortable,” Watkins recalled.
“I think it was a little bit of an emotional challenge for us to get the men on the same page as the women,” Watkins added.
“One of my favorite scenes was the one where the audience walks up to the balcony