What's a musical without some show-stopping numbers sung by some incredible supporting characters! Funny, heart-warming, and charming, this season's nominees gave us some of the most memorable moments on Broadway. All originating their Tony-nominated roles, these guys truly left their mark!
Today's Spotlight: Best Performance by an
Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Meet Daveed Diggs
Hamilton (Marquis de Lafayette & Thomas Jefferson)
Hometown: Oakland, California
Training: Berkeley High School & Brown University
Big Break: Although he studied theatre in college and acted in experimental plays and Shakespeare productions on the West Coast, his focus has been on building his hip-hop and rap career in California. He has released several albums and met Lin-Manuel Miranda when he joined the sketch troupe Freestyle Love Supreme. His star turn in Hamilton is his Broadway debut!
Fun Fact: Originally recruited at Brown for track, he broke the college's record in the 110 meter hurdles as a sophomore. He is also the reigning rap champion on Broadway and his work is considered the fastest rap in Broadway history.
Meet Brandon Victor Dixon
Shuffle Along (Eubie Blake)
Hometown: Gaithersburg, Maryland
Training: A Presidential Scholar Semi-finalist and scholarship winner to British American Drama Academy, Brandon is a graduate of Columbia University and a recipient of the University's I.A.L Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts, an honor he shares with Tony Kushner (Angels in America), Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), and Katori Hall (Mountaintop).
Big Break: Brandon made a splash on the Broadway scene when he originated the role of Harpo in The Color Purple (2005), earning his first Tony Award Nomination. He went on to originate the role of Haywood Patterson in The Scottsboro Boys (2010) and Berry Gordy in Motown: The Musical (2013).
Fun Fact: He is also Producer and Co-Founder of Walk Run Fly Productions (created with friend Warren Adams), which brought us Hedwig with Neil Patrick Harris and Of Mice and Men with James Franco & Chris O'Dowd. Also, though he went on to play Colin in Rent, he auditioned 6 times. Talk about determination!
Meet Christopher Fitzgerald
Hometown: South Portland, Maine
Training: Rollins College (BA Theatre) & American Conservatory Theatre (MFA in Acting)
Big Break: At the age of 26, Christopher starred in Terrance McNally's Corpus Christi. No stranger to a Broadway stage, he played Amos in Chicago, Boq in Wicked, Igor in Young Frankenstein, and Og in Finian's Rainbow, just to name a few.
Fun Fact: He is the only actor to have ever played both starring roles of Billy Flynn and Amos Hart in Chicago on Broadway. He also is an expert in clowning and mime.
Meet Jonathan Groff
Hamilton (King George III)
Hometown: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Training: Conestoga Valley High School (He deferred his admission for a year at Carnegie Mellon to play Rolf in the non-equity tour of The Sound of Music and decided to take a risk and move directly to NYC.)
Big Break: Long before he voiced Kristoff in Frozen and guest starred on Glee, Jonathan made his Broadway debut as an understudy/swing in In My Life at the age of 20. He went on to play Melchior Gelbor in the mega-hit musical Spring Awakening, earning his first Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.
Fun Fact: He loves watching people sing karaoke, but he hates doing it himself because it stresses him out. "I get nervous that it’s like not in the right key. Or will I be able to hear the band? Is the mix right? Too many things out of my control.”- JG
Meet Christopher Jackson
Hamilton (George Washington)
Hometown: Cairo, Illinois
Big Break: Making his Broadway debut as Simba in the original cast of The Lion King, he went on to originate Benny in In the Heights and appeared in Memphis, After Midnight, Bronx Bombers, and Holler If Ya Hear Me.
Fun Fact: He also is a composer and lyricist and won a Daytime Emmy Award for "What I Am," which he co-wrote with Bill Sherman for Sesame Street.
What an incredible group of guys! Who is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments below!
Check back on Tuesday to
Meet the 2016 Tony Awards Nominees:
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Tom Morin is a NYC-based acting coach, co-founder of Polish Your Passion, and a professional actor/singer. He holds a B.A. in Theatre & Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.F.A. in Acting from Ohio University and has been teaching for the past 9 years, advising and coaching students through the college audition process and beyond. He loves coffee, Shakespeare, and YouTube.