From leading roles playing Gomez Addams to Harry Bright, two stops on the cyclone and a wonderful town to call home, Karl Hamilton has been on a wild professional ride these days.
Currently playing now through April 16th in the smash hit Mamma Mia! at the Marriott Theatre, Hamilton has been a fixture on stages for over a decade at dozens of productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Goodman Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre and Porchlight Music Theatre.
The versatile performer earned a Jeff nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in The Addams Family at Mercury Theater in 2015 and was featured in the Chicago Shakes and Off-Broadway productions of Rachel Rockwell’s Ride the Cyclone. Last summer, Hamilton shined in a lead role in Mary Zimmerman’s Wonderful Town at the Goodman Theatre, a big stage treatment of the Bernstein classic.
Karl Hamilton joined the conversation on February 27th to talk about Mamma Mia!, the transition of Ride the Cyclone to New York and his take on the business of show.
On his experience starring in Wonderful Town …
“I am still affected by it in so many ways … It was so beautiful and lush … I got to work with one of the most amazing casts I have ever been a part of. There was so much love in the room. Those are the times when it feels so profound to be an artist … to be an actor … to get to do this thing that I love and it reminds me through all the hardships why I do this.”
Being in the Mamma Mia family …
“It is pure joy … It is hilarity, hijinks, and amazing music. There is something really contagious about ABBA … this is the second time I’ve done Mamma Mia … once you are part of the Mamma Mia family it is part of your blood. It fills your heart.”
On his role as Gomez in the Addams Family ...
“I had so much fun being this passionate, love-at-all-costs, crazy man. It is one of the favorite roles of my entire life.”
On making theatre more accessible …
“There is nothing like the energy in a live theater … I would like to see the shows that we have become accessible to more audiences … the people who cannot afford higher priced tickets. It seems counterproductive to make art just for those people who can afford it.”
His suggestion …
“What I think Chicago is renowned for is its storefront theaters that are trying new and different things. I would love to see some sort of workshop in a mid-sized house where you can get a good sampling of what the effect would be in a large house and one of the small store fronts … Some pilot program that would adapt maybe dual casting … A way to create more work for the artists without sacrificing the integrity and I think everyone would be able to benefit … I would like for Chicago which has a reputation for being dynamic and inventive to try something new … something that has not been done before.”
The importance of talent …
“I do not believe in talent … Talent is the insidious American Dream. It’s this place on high where all of your problems will be solved. I do not buy it. I think there is persistence. I think there is courage, tenacity and availability to the material … vulnerability … Those are the things I can rely on and those are things I can measure. I cannot measure this ubiquitous talent … Work well with others, be prepared, work hard and never give up. If you can do those four things you can have a career in the artistic world.”
The power of Mamma Mia …
“All of us are having a wonderful time out there. There is nothing not to love about singing ABBA and wearing spandex … except maybe the spandex part … There is something that happens when the story is over and you just get to enjoy some of the songs … you let go … you realize there are opportunities to just feel joy and dance. sing and exult … this is one of those shows. I love doing serious work … work that holds the mirror up to a very dark nature of the human condition. I feel those are absolutely necessary especially this day and age … but you also need the other side. You need the comedy to the tragedy mask. Our show does that.”
MAMMA MIA! - MARRIOTT THEATRE now through April 16th
NOW PLAYING THROUGH APRIL 16th
Ten Marriott Drive
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
847-634-0200 (Box Office)
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