Hamilton is arguably one of the biggest musicals of our time and a cultural touchstone. With 11 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2016, Hamilton hasn’t just made creator Lin-Manuel Miranda a pop culture hero, and a millionaire – it’s netted him deals with Disney and Netflix. The original Broadway show and subsequent touring productions have reported grossed more than a half billion dollars and counting.
And now Hamilton has finally come to Miami. The show’s “Angelica” cast is three weeks into a four-week run at the Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. The sold-out shows have been playing to positive reviews and rapturous audiences, injecting new electricity into the Arsht Center.
Naturally, MiMi was curious to find out how the lead actor, Edred Utomi, who plays Hamilton himself, is finding Miami. So we asked.
The actor, who admits he leads a “monkish” lifestyle – no drinking, no coffee – had not been to Miami before this tour stop and is really enjoying his time here. “A four-week run is just enough to get to know a place. We’ve had time to relax, to explore.” He’s sharing an Airbnb with Peter Matthew Smith, the actor that plays the King, and they blow off steam by playing video games, exploring the city, and ordering off DoorDash. He’s managed to check out Wynwood and South Beach, took in a HEAT game and can testify to the soundness of a Kush burger. Herewith, our conversation.
On first impressions of Miami: Miami is what I thought it would be. I thought it would be this hip city where it feels like something is always happening and it kind of feels like that. The people are really nice. The audiences have been great.
We’ve had a couple nights when during the “immigrants” line we get eruptions of applause. It feels like the Miami audience is more receptive to the cabinet battles and the more rap-heavy parts of the show. We’ve toured in different places and people connect with different elements of the show. In Richmond, Virginia they connect with the history of it – they love all the mentions of Virginia. And the immigrant line here is definitely getting a lot of love from the audience so we love it.
Miami’s vibrant immigrant culture as experienced through DoorDash: I have DoorDash in every city we do a performance in, and when we were in West Palm Beach a lot of the places were chain restaurants like Cheesecake Factory, Wendy’s etc. But here in Miami when I go to order, there’s all different types of Latin American food, Cuban food, and I was like ‘this is great, because this is what I like to eat.’ You can tell it’s a very diverse population down here, which is great to be around.
What are some favorites you’ve ordered from: The Daily Creative, KUSH burgers – which we’ve ordered for our weekly poker game that some of us cast members play – American Electric Burger, House of Mac, and Fritanga Cana Brava, which is a great Nicaraguan spot.
Walk us through a typical day: I’ll make breakfast and sit down and eat while watching The Office (slowly making my way through it – on Season 8). Then I’ll play a round or two of video games. Then I shower, and head to the theater an hour before the show. Do some stretching, and vocal warm-ups. When I get to the theater I make hot water with honey and lemon juice and drink that leading up to curtain time. If it’s a two-show day, I’m very strict about getting food, eating it quickly and taking a nap. I need to reset – not just my facial muscles, but also reset my mind. I have a playlist that relaxes me, so I listen to that to wind down. And then I’ll head back to the theater and do another show. After the show, I’ll come home and play some video games.
On video games: I just beat the new Jedi Fallen Order game. Me and The King play a game called Apex Legends, and we’ll play sometimes with the actor who plays Lafayette/Jefferson. We’ll put on our headsets and play video games for an hour. It’s a low stress, low mental activity so we can focus on the show.
On attending a HEAT game (March 2, HEAT vs. Bucks): It was my first time watching a professional basketball game in person. We were there to support “The Sisters” (actresses Zoe Jensen, Stephanie Umoh and Olivia Puckett who play the Schuyler sisters, were there to sing the national anthem). It was crazy to see these players in person – they are wildly athletic! Most of the cast was there for the game and it was a good time.
On local restaurants: I’ve been lucky enough to check out a few. We ate at Stiltsville when it was the Friday during Lent, so I got the fish tacos which were delicious. The person I ate with got the shrimp and grits, which were also good. I may go back and get that again. I also stopped by Coyo Taco and had the steak quesadilla. And KYU was amazing. I got the rib, which I probably should not have done right before the show. The show was at 8pm and I got it around 3p so I was thinking ‘I’ve got time,’ but halfway through the song “My Shot”, I was feeling it!