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Michigan and Michigan State Alumni are Stars of ‘Hamilton’ Chicago

Matt Milhouse, TSM
Matt Milhouse, TSM

Hamilton opened to excellent reviews in Chicago on October 19. The Tony Award-winning musical is a pop culture phenomenon. Two of the show’s stand-out stars went to college in Michigan.

Jonathan Kirkland is a Michigan State University graduate who plays George Washington. Alexander Gemignani is a University of Michigan graduate cast as King George III.

The Chicago Tribune says Kirkland is “perfect casting” and Gemignani is a crowd favorite “who earns applause nightly while oozing with royal relish and sardonic wit.”

They’re absolutely right. I saw the show at The PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago earlier this month and Kirkland and Gemignani are outstanding.

Kirkland’s vocals are strong and powerful, perfect for Washington. Gemignani masterfully combines flawless vocals with perfect timing for a character who is both ruthless and entertaining.

Gemignani graduated from the University of Michigan in 2001 with a BFA in Music Theatre. Soon after, he was making his Broadway debut in Assassins. By 2005, he was playing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway.

Gemignani told TalkinBroadway that he originally went to Michigan to play trumpet, then he thought, “Well, I can kind of sing … I guess. Maybe I’ll try out for this musical theatre program.”

That’s worked out pretty well for him.

He says the reason he stayed and auditioned at Michigan was because he loved the school so much.

Gemingnani’s parents were both entertainers. His mother, Carolann Page, is a musical theatre and opera performer. His father, Paul Gemignani, has been a musical director for over 40 years.

Jonathan Kirkland is a Michigan State University graduate with a B.A. in vocal performance. He also has a M.M. in vocal pedagogy from the University of Houston.

Kirkland has been on NBC’s Shades of Blue. He also recently appeared Cabin in the Sky at Encores! at New York City Center.

Kirkland proudly shares his love of the Spartans.

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