Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Stratford High Grad Loves Hamilton Roles

Dorcas Leung spoke with Stratford Playhouse students and faculty and performed two song selections during a special visit to the Stratford auditorium.

Fans of a recent Stratford graduate performing in the hip-hop musical Hamilton, now on national tour in Houston, had plenty of questions for Dorcas Leung during a Friday special visit to the SBISD high school.

Fresh off a Broadway debut as Gigi Van Tranh in Miss Saigon, Leung is a much-in-demand standby for three Hamilton female characters – Angelica Schuyler, Eliza Hamilton and Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds.

The 2011 SBISD grad spoke with Stratford Playhouse students and faculty and performed two song selections during a special visit to the auditorium.

Watch the video

Leung first began performing in a church choir, but traces her passion with theater to a seventh grade production at Memorial Middle School. A school crush on a boy led her to try out. She fell in love with performing.

Her first student musical at Stratford High was Barnum. Featured in many Stratford High productions, she earned numerous Tommy Tune Award nominations.

A few responses from her Friday afternoon question-and-answer session:

Stratford Playhouse’s impact on her career: “Stratford is a huge part of my success. I loved summer rehearsals. Learning new parts with friends, and learning how to learn together, that is something I really hold onto.”

She works out of two suitcases and a trunk for the Hamilton tour. “We joke that this is the princess of all tours. Hamilton sits in a tour city for at least a month so you can really get to know the city. You learn about the food and restaurants. We can sit and hang out.”

Performing is work, but not the type of work one complains about. “Touring can be hard. You would like to stay longer and see way more of the Grand Canyon, but you have to do Hamilton. But that’s not bad!”

How to be ready for the next big break? “Make sure that you are prepared and ready to perform when you get that call.” Good advice for all of us.

Her thoughts on playing multiple standby roles in Hamilton as a woman of color, and interest in other Broadway roles. “I do like to pick work that I can identify with, and being in both productions (Hamilton and Miss Saigon) has really opened my eyes on how important it is for us to tell these stories.”

One reason stage work is safer than TV or film: “If you make a mistake, it’s live musical theater so you just go forward and go on. We say, no one dies in theater!”

On Hamilton’s ongoing popularity and the difficulty in obtaining tickets, then and now: “I joke that I never got to see Hamilton before I got on the touring show, and now I get to see the show as much as I want. If I am not performing, I will watch the show and study performances.”

During the Houston show’s stop, Leung sang the national anthem at Minute Maid Park before an Astros game.

Hamilton performances end May 20 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. For details, www.houston.broadway.com.


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