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Glenville native shines in 'Hamilton' as Broadway smash returns to Playhouse Square

When Warren Egypt Franklin says he feels beyond blessed to be performing on stage in Hamilton, he means it.
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Posted at 6:25 AM, Dec 15, 2022

CLEVELAND — It is being called the hottest ticket in town.

The beloved and critically acclaimed Broadway smash hit “Hamilton” officially returned to the KeyBank State Theatre.

The production is bringing sellout crowds from near and far, with some serious hometown ties.

One of the local stars, Warren Egypt Franklin, is scoring high marks and shining on and off stage.

When Warren Egypt Franklin says he feels beyond blessed to be performing on stage in "Hamilton," he means it.

“I’m just so happy and excited that God has given me the talents to be a vessel to tell art," Franklin said.

He showcases his song, dance and acting skills, playing both Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson.

And to be doing it here in Cleveland, he said, “It’s so nostalgic. Opening night — I got chills. The very first show I ever saw was Phantom of the Opera when I was six in this theatre.”

It's a full circle moment for the kid who grew up in the Glenville area and immersed himself in the theater scene at a young age.

“The training I got at Baldwin Wallace and Cleveland School of the Arts, and even here through Playhouse Square with the All-City Arts program, trained me for everything," Franklin said.

Dubbed the story of America then, told by America now, "Hamilton" brings history to life with a modern hip-hop, jazz and R&B twist.

Centered around Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the musical hits all the notes.

Politics, culture and education are all major points highlighted throughout the performance.

The cast representation is strong, clear and intended to be inspirational to viewers of all ages.

“You have people — POC, people of color — on stage that just opens the world up for all the youth, when they see themselves on stage," said Pierre Jean Gonzalez, who plays Alexander Hamilton.

“I’m really hoping that people just get a sense of diversity and representation out of the show," said Nikisha Williams, who plays Eliza Hamilton.

The initial production blew up on Broadway as the brainchild of superstar performer and producer Lin-Manuel Miranda, garnering dozens of awards.

This adaption brings the fire too.

When Franklin steps on stage with his cast mates, he says he's doing it with love and purpose for his family and the city he loves.

“I’ve been training my whole life for this moment, and it feels so surreal that I get to use that training now," Franklin said.

“Warren Egypt has been talking about this for the past — I wanna say — eight months. 'Y’all ain’t ready for Cleveland. Wait 'til we get to Cleveland!' The minute we get here I was like, 'Show me Cleveland! Let’s gooo!'” said Pierre Jean Gonzalez.

For many, Warren Egypt Franklin is already a familiar face.

He’s played Des in Freeform's "Grown-ish," which is a spinoff of the hit ABC sitcom "Blackish."

He told News 5 he will be returning to TVs and movies soon with more projects in the works.

Hamilton runs through January 15 at Playhouse Square's KeyBank State Theatre.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased here. You can also enter for a chance to purchase $10 "Lucky Seats" to see "Hamilton" — click here for entry and details.