Share
Arts | Coolture

San Diego-trained actor Edred Utomi ascends to lead role on national ‘Hamilton’ tour

SAN DIEGO, CA: September 6, 2017 | Actor Edred Utomi photographed in Copley Plaza at the Old Globe T
Edred Utomi, photographed at the Old Globe in 2017.

Like the hero of the megahit musical “Hamilton,” Edred Utomi is young, scrappy and hungry — and now he has performed his way to the pinnacle of one of the biggest shows on the planet.

Tonight in Pittsburgh, the University of San Diego grad and former local actor takes over the title role in the “Angelica” tour of “Hamilton,” one of two national tours of the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical.

Utomi had joined the touring company early last year — just weeks after his last San Diego performance, in the ensemble of “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at the Old Globe.

In short order he became a standby for the role of Alexander Hamilton, the Revolutionary War hero, statesman and U.S. treasury secretary whose story is at the center of the show.

Utomi first went onstage as Hamilton last March, and had subbed into the role numerous times since, while also portraying such key characters as Aaron Burr (who killed Hamilton in an infamous real-life duel), George Washington, Thomas Jefferson/Marquis de Lafayette and others at various times.

But now, with the departure from the tour of longtime principal Austin Scott — who played Hamilton when the show came through San Diego a year ago — Utomi is the main man.

“It is with great pride that I announce that starting tonight, I will be taking over the role of Alexander Hamilton on the Angelica Tour,” Utomi posted Wednesday on Instagram from the show’s current stop in Pittsburgh.

“Actually, ‘pride’ is not the word I’m looking for. There is so much more inside me now,” he added — borrowing lyrics from the “Hamilton” song “Dear Theodosia.”

On Twitter, Scott said: “My man @edredutomi will be taking over as Hamilton on the Angelica Tour and I couldn’t be happier. Edred has been holding it down as the Ham alternate and principal standby all year and my mind is at ease knowing that this company will have such a strong and capable leader. Much love and best wishes to you brother!”

A son of Nigerian immigrants, Utomi was mostly a journeyman actor around San Diego after graduating from USD, but his talent was obvious in such shows as San Diego Rep’s 2015 production of “My Mañana Comes.”

“The past four years have been incredible in San Diego,” Utomi said when the U-T checked in with him in late 2017. “The San Diego theater community is really something special. Every theater I’ve worked at is committed to putting on good theater.

“And it’s a family — such a welcoming community, such a thriving community.”

Now he leads a show that has received renewed exposure recently (not that publicity is ever an issue for “Hamilton”) as writer-composer-lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda launches a new production of the musical in Puerto Rico, the place of his own family’s heritage.

Miranda, who originated the title role on Broadway, will portray Hamilton again in that production, which opens Friday.

jim.hebert@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @jimhebert