Hamilton’s Angelica Tour is currently in Toledo, Ohio for a 2-week engagement at The Stranahan Theater. I was in the house last night to experience Hamilton for the very first time and was totally blown away. Each cast member gave it their all and it was beautiful to watch.
The next morning, I had the opportunity to interview Cherry Torres, understudy for Eliza Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler, and Peggy Schuyler.
Welcome to Toledo! So since you’ve been here, have you been able to explore Toledo a little bit?
Torres: Um, so we just got here Monday. But like come next, like Tuesday, Wednesday, I think I’m gonna go around. I heard the downtown’s really cute.
Definitely go downtown. There’s a lot of places to eat and get cocktails if you’re into that.
Yes! I’m into that. Right. <laugh> I mean…
Well make sure you check out Toledo Spirits.
Toledo Spirits. Okay. Yes. I was gonna say give me some recommendations. Yes! Toledo Spirits, definitely go there.
And they actually have a brewery in the basement. Heavy Beer.
Say less. I love a local beer. That’s awesome. Yes!
How did you get into acting and how did your career transpire into getting this role in Hamilton
So I’m Puerto Rican. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I moved to South Florida when I was like 11 or 12, and a random brochure arrived at home for a magnet program for theater and dance. I auditioned for it and I auditioned for the dance department, but I auditioned for the musical and from then it, it was kind of over. I was like, oh, this is it, this like, I was already into singing, but this just, it was totally different and exciting.
Then years later, I went to school for music, moved to New York, and started working. I did a lot of cruise ships. I worked with Disney. Like did a lot of regional and I did a regional theater in Chicago and they had Hamilton in Chicago. So I auditioned for them. I auditioned about seven different times before I got this job and wow. Eventually, I was working at Disney. They called me in for a final callback and on my subway ride home, they were like, so you booked it.
I was like, I have to get off this train.
Like I have to get off this train now. Um, and I did, it was, it was really wonderful. Wow. I’ve been here for four years now.
Wow. Congratulations! What’s it like to portray a historical figure?
It’s really, it’s really cool because I think it marries, you know, my creativity as an actor with like some context. Yeah. Um, usually obviously with a character you can, you can make it up as you go and kind of see, but what’s really wonderful is, you know, Angelica, Eliza, Peggy, and Mariah all have, uh, you know, facts about them that I can get to know that I can implement into my creativity and getting to know them too. Eliza has been, I mean she’s like inspirational.
Uh, so it’s, it’s really cool to see how that can influence my choices on stage. It’s interesting. It’s more pressure almost because you obviously have to like stay within context. But it’s exciting.
So, I saw the show last night. And I brought my 14–year-old daughter with me and I saw some other young boys and girls. What’s it like to be the defining touchstone for the entire generation of Americans, growing up thinking about early American history? How does it make you feel like being part of, you know, their exposure?
Yeah. Um, that has been one of the most, I think, special things for me joining Hamilton, one of the things that attracted me to it, because as a child, I didn’t necessarily have people that looked like me on stage all the time. Right. You know, oftentimes they didn’t. So to be in a company that not only teaches about history and, the things that you don’t necessarily pay that much attention to in school. But to see it all being represented by like, by people that look like you. You know, in every race, shape, size, everyone, um, it makes it really, really, really special.
So that, that’s kind of my I’m so proud of it to be a part of it.
Love it. Okay so did you have to learn how to rap or did it come naturally?
I mean, I, a little bit of both. A little bit. Yeah.
Cause like it came naturally to some extent, I, I am a like, uh, my first language is Spanish Uhhuh, so I think Angelica was definitely a okay. So like you’re gonna have to do it fast. Um, but yeah, it came fairly naturally, I think. Yeah. I wasn’t like, I didn’t have to super. I’m a natural.
Any favorite backstage moments?
We are fool as backstage. I’d be lying if not to, you know, what’s really cool is, um, obviously because when we tour our cast and crew are our family. We are quite literally together all the time. Right. Um, so it makes the backstage moments really silly sometimes. Like we wink, you know, we’re like make faces backstage. We’re like heckling, the girls will walk around and sunglasses once in a while backstage, like we just, there are so many, I couldn’t choose one <laugh>.
How is it wearing the costumes? Is it like really challenging to wear like the dresses?
Yeah. So I, the corsets are corsets. Like you are like really in there, you know? Um, what’s really wonderful though, is our costing are wardrobe department, um, is really lovely about working with your body. Because you know, in four years in this company, I’ve gained weight. I’ve lost weight. I’ve been everywhere in between. Um, and I’ve never felt forced into a mold you know, if I gain a little bit, they’ll let it out. If I lose a little bit they’ll take it in, which makes it really cool. But with that being said, it is still a corset. Running around. I mean, I’m sure you saw helpless last night, she is running and singing. Yes. And that is as hard as it looks <laugh>.
Why do you think Hamilton continues to live up to the hype?
I think two things. I think the fact that it’s inclusive is a big part of it. The fact that black, brown, and Asian faces are all represented in this community. And telling the story together, gives it longevity. Cause like I said, people see themselves on stage. And another part also is the story in itself. I think, making, you know, especially because it’s biographical, like humanizing somebody that people have looked up to you for years and making him flawed and speaking of betrayal and grief and pain and love and forgiveness, um, it just makes it such a human story, you know?
So no matter what, you know, your background is like, there is something you can relate to. There’s something you’ve experienced that you see yourself in on stage. And I think that makes it transcend, you know, the typical, like it’s a song in dance and you go home, you get to be challenged, you know, you get to really think and, and it, it hits you. You’re like, oh wow, I’ve experienced something similar. Yeah. You know, so I think that’s made it a phenomenon.
HAMILTON is the story of America then, told by America now. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, HAMILTON has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theatre—a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics, and education.
Tickets for HAMILTON are currently on sale. Patrons are advised to check the official HAMILTON channels and BroadwayInToledo.com for late release seats which may become available at short notice.
For information on HAMILTON, visit www.HamiltonMusical.com, www.Facebook.com/HamiltonMusical, www.Instagram.com/HamiltonMusical and www.Twitter.com/HamiltonMusical.