5 Questions from Over the Pond: Hamilton's James Monroe Iglehart & Jason Pennycooke
We've dedicated our final 2019 edition of 5 Questions from Over the Pond to the one and only... Hamilton!
Happy Holidays to all our valued readers from all of us at the New York Theatre Guide! For "One Last Time" this year, as a little pre-Christmas gift, we're bringing you an edition of 5 Questions from Over the Pond that we're sure you'll be more than "Satisfied" with... OK, no more Hamilton references, we promise... But yes, folks, we've been lucky enough to pair up a couple of shining stars from the world's musical phenomenon by Lin-Manuel Miranda that needs no introduction.
On this side of the pond, we have none other than Tony Award winner James Monroe Iglehart, who is still strutting his stuff as the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson on the Great White Way, and his London counterpart is the very talented three-time Olivier Award nominee Jason Pennycooke, who originated the dual roles in the West End premiere.
James has had an incredibly busy year in New York City, balancing his day job at the Richard Rodgers Theatre with a guest star role in the Broadway premiere of Hip Hop improv comedy freestyle love supreme and originating the role of Philoctetes (or just Phil to his friends) in the much loved Public Works world premiere of Disney's Hercules in Central Park this past summer. It was, of course, thanks to Disney that he shot to Broadway superstardom in 2014, after winning a Tony Award for originating the role of Genie in the hit musical Aladdin, and he also lends his voice to the character of Lance Strongbow in Disney's "Tangled: The Series," thank you very much. He made his Broadway debut back in 2007 with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and originated the role of Bobby in the Tony Award-winning 'Best Musical' Memphis in 2009.
Across the Atlantic, Jason also coincidentally made waves in London by originating the role of Bobby in the West End premiere of Memphis, earning his second Olivier Award nomination (following his first nod for his portrayal of Jacob in La Cage aux Folles). His efforts as Lafayette/Jefferson in the West End premiere of Hamilton at London's Victoria Palace Theatre earned him his third Olivier nomination in 2018. Any Elton John fans here in the States might also recognize him as Wilson on this year's fantastical musical biopic "Rocketman."
So, here we are on the website where it happens (apologies!) and it's time for 5 Questions from Over the Pond - The Hamilton Edition...
1. Jason: Which Lafayette/Jefferson number do you have to concentrate on not ‘ballsing up’ when you’re tired?
James: That would easily be the first Cabinet Battle. It’s not the hardest rap either but if I’m not concentrating that song will eat me up every time! Ha!
2. Jason: Which actor/character do you have most onstage fun with in your company?
James: Definitely Wallace Smith (who plays Hercules Mulligan/James Madison) & Daniel Breaker (Aaron Burr) we have a ball on stage together and I’ll leave it at that so no one gets in trouble! Lol…
3. Jason: Could you tell me a Hamilton-related joke, using characters/scene/script from the show?
James: This is probably inappropriate but I always tease Hamilton about his friendship with John Laurens because his son Philip looks nothing like him but has a strong resemblance to his best friend that passed away!
4. Jason: If you could make a musical about a Superhero/Comic-book character, who would it be?
James: It’s funny I’m not one who really likes his superheroes to sing BUT if I have to choose it would probably be an Operatic/Rock Musical based on the ‘Infinity War’ storyline. I see an Operatic Baritone Thanos vs. the Rock star vocals of Iron Man!
5. Jason: What advice would you give to aspiring artistes for working on multiple projects at once, as you so often do?
James: My advice would be to decide if the projects are worth losing sleep over. If in your heart you know you couldn’t live with yourself if someone else did that project, I say go for it! Your health and your sanity is most important. If it’s just a “Yeah that would be cool.” Then don’t do more than one project. Concentrate on the one project you have and make it the best you can. It has to really be special to work more than two projects at a time. Even I’m slowing down as I write this!
Thanks Jason these were fun! I hope you enjoy my questions as well.
Check out Broadway's James Monroe Iglehart's 5 questions for West End star Jason Pennycooke on our London Theatre Guide sister site here!
Hamilton Tickets are available now for performances through June 7, 2020.