Marc delaCruz is the first Asian American to play Alexander Hamilton on Broadway

‘Everyone was wonderful, warm and gracious.’

‘Everyone was wonderful, warm and gracious.’

By Cristina DC Pastor

When he is not playing Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law, Philip Schuyler, or the doctor to his eldest son, actor Marc delaCruz is just happy being in the wings, listening to the show’s songs every night, bobbing his head or dancing.

“Such a joy!” he proclaimed.

Marc joined “Hamilton” in November, making him the third Filipino American in the cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s avant-garde Broadway musical, a mish-mash of R&B, hip hop and rap. (There are two other cast members, Karla Puno Garcia and Christina Glur, who are FilAm.)

He plays a variety of roles, such as the revolutionary general Philip Schuyler; the man who blackmailed Alexander Hamilton over a sex scandal James Reynolds; and Philip Hamilton’s doctor. He also understudies the roles of the “Founding Father without a father;” his son Philip Hamilton; King George; and the temperamental statesman from South Carolina John Laurens. On January 19, he made history as the first actor of Asian descent to play American Alexander Hamilton on Broadway.

“I am over the moon to be a part of Hamilton,” he said in an interview with The FilAm. “I’ve been a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda since I saw ‘In the Heights’ and I always wondered at the possibility of being in something he created.”

He actually expressed disbelief when he learned he had passed the auditions and that he would be playing multiple roles. “As my manager was explaining the offer to me, I kept saying ‘Wait. What?’”

Just to audition was a thrill, he said.

“I had been listening to the cast recording for so long and had become such a fan of the music. Suddenly I’m finding out that I’m going to be singing it every night on Broadway—it all took a second to sink in. After getting off the phone with my manager I think I just sat in my living room for a long time in silence. I had been given such a gift and I immediately felt grateful. Then I told my parents and they freaked out!”

‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (at far right). ‘The voice of a generation.’

‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (at far right). ‘The voice of a generation.’

He described the series of auditions as getting more intense over time.

“I was given more and more materials to learn every time,” he said. “My first appointment was sort of a general audition where I was given cuts from two songs to perform. Then for every role I auditioned for after that I was given a pretty dense packet of song cuts. Over the next series of appointments, I was given the Aaron Burr music, then Hamilton, then King George materials. I was eventually brought in for a work session with Patrick Vassel, the associate and supervising director, and Matt Gallagher, the associate musical supervisor. By the time I had my final audition with (co-creators) Tommy Kail and Alex Lacamoire I had so much material in my head, I was praying I could keep it all straight.”

“Everyone in the room at all of my auditions was absolutely wonderful—warm, encouraging, gracious,” he continued. He was all praise for the creative team members and casting directors Bethany Knox and Lauren Harris from Telsey + Co. “They pushed me to try different choices and worked with me as a collaborator, to see what I bring that’s uniquely me to the material.”

Youngest child
Marc is the youngest of three children of Roy and Rochelle delaCruz. He was born in Hilo, Hawaii. When he was 4 years old, the family moved to Seattle where he came of age and went to college.

His father immigrated from the Philippines when he was a kid. His grandfather served in the U.S. Army and was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. After the war, they all settled in Seattle. Roy was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Rochelle, who is of mixed race from Hawaii, was an English-as-a-Second-Language teacher for 30 years.

“My parents met at the University of Washington which is also where my brother, sister and I went to school,” he pointed out. “They are now both retired and live on the Big Island of Hawaii.”

It was his mother who brought Marc to see local stage productions as a young boy.

He told writer Walter Ang in 2015, “I was lucky enough to grow up watching a lot of theater. My mother felt it was important to expose her children to as much culture and art as possible.”

While studying at the University of Washington, he trained in dance and joined singing groups. He was cast in his first professional production, “The Fantasticks,” with the Northwest Asian American Theater Company.

He was cast in more productions after leaving Seattle. He joined the world premiere of “Allegiance” at San Diego, a national tour with Disney’s “High School Musical,” and a tour with the musical “If/Then,” which was his Broadway debut.

He considers it an honor to be cast in the critically acclaimed “Hamilton” which he described as groundbreaking in its artistry. “It has changed the landscape of musical theater and created a movement,” he said.

With profuse admiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda, he hailed the creator and composer for his tenacity, and musical and linguistic virtuosity. “He is the voice of a generation.”

© The FilAm 2019

Marc and fellow FilAms Karla Puno Garcia and Christina Glur are in the New York cast.

Marc and fellow FilAms Karla Puno Garcia and Christina Glur are in the New York cast.

Leave a Reply