Last year I was lucky enough to see Hamilton in San Francisco. The entire cast was amazing but the one performance that gave me the vapors was Joshua Henry’s Aaron Burr. The hair on my arms was giving him a standing ovation during “The Room Where It Happens.” His performance was a thrilling display of vocal control, athleticism and good old-fashioned razzle dazzle! I feel so lucky to have experienced Hamilton with Joshua as my Burr.
Tonight, Joshua will take the stage as Billy Bigelow in the Broadway revival of Rodger and Hammerstein’s Carousel opposite Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller (Beautiful, Waitress) as Julie Jordan. It’s not my favorite show (though, there are a few good bops, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” being my favorite), but what’s significant is that this is the first major production of the classic to cast an African American actor as the male lead.
It’s rare to see representation like this in the theater world where historically, blind casting doesn’t happen often, and so many talented black actors have to wait for a Shuffle Along (for which Joshua was nominated for a Tony), a Hamilton, or a revival of Porgy And Bess in order to find a high profile, starring Broadway role in which they can shine. Tonight is Joshua’s time to shine.
Opening night! What a journey. Getting here means so much & thank God we made it. About an hr away. Now we breathe & enjoy the moment. Grateful for those who banged on the doors so I could enter. Grateful for the awareness that this moment is bigger than me🙏🏿 #ThatGrowthLife pic.twitter.com/puFzfw1Lm6— Joshua Henry (@joshuahenry20) April 12, 2018
And here’s a video I found while doing my post-Hamilton “who was that guy?” deep YouTube dive. In it, Joshua demonstrates how to fake it ‘til you make, which he has.