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Interview: HAMILTON at Ohio Theater

Interview: HAMILTON at Ohio Theater

Feature: Skipped final pays off for HAMILTON’S Belo

When Tyler Belo looks at his final transcripts from Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York, it is always the D+ in general economics that makes him smile.

Belo barely passed the class because he opted out on the final to crash an equity-only tryout for HAMILTON.

"I truly decided to follow my dream," said Belo, who plays the dual role of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the national tour. "I talked with my professor, and she said there was no way you'd be able to get above a 70 percent without taking the final. I made sure I could get a 68 percent.

"The rest is history. I know it sounds like something out of a book or a movie."

Or maybe even a musical.

Belo will be making his first trip to Columbus when HAMILTON begins a run of shows from Oct. 4-22 at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State Street in downtown Columbus).

There aren't too many shows Belo would have skipped a final for, but HAMILTON was definitely one of them. The actor believes there are two epochs to musical theater: B.H. (Before HAMILTON) and A.H. (After HAMILTON).

"HAMILTON changed theater," Belo said. "The fact we have people of all different ethnic backgrounds playing our founding fathers absolutely changed the game.

"It's not just colorblind casting. There's something beautiful when you can bring who you are, your culture, to a role. It is great for kids and adults alike to see that."

Belo speaks passionately about the impact HAMILTON has made because he remembers what it was like seeing the musical for the first time. As a high school student, Belo saved up paycheck after paycheck from his pet store job, so he could venture into the city and see the original cast in 2016.

"I was like, 'I've never seen anything like this before,'" he said. "(Being in HAMILTON) has been a goal of mine since I saw the show way back then."

When Belo saw the auditioning notice for the national tour, he traveled to NYC for the tryout with his friend and fellow actor Dylan Bivings. Since they weren't equity actors, the two waited and waited to be seen. After hours of hanging around, Bivings couldn't stay any longer, but Belo continued to wait.

"When we walked into the room, there were a bunch of actors, who had much more experience than I did," he said. "It felt like I was swimming with sharks, and I was a little fish."

Sometimes a sardine can outlast a great white shark. Two weeks after his first audition, Belo received a call back for a work session. This began a cycle of callbacks and waiting that lasted for months.

Belo was at an all-time low when he learned he made the show from his agent.

"I had just gotten dumped by my girlfriend the day before," he said with a laugh. "I was talking with my dad (Wilson Belo) on a cell phone when my agent called on a different phone. When she told me I got the part, I just started sobbing. It was like an affirmation of my talent.

"The funny thing is I forgot to hang up with my dad, so he got to share the moment with me. Just the fact that I had a job that could propel me into an industry that is so hard to break into really, really meant a lot to me and my family."

Belo was on tour when the show was canceled because of COVID but quickly jumped back in when the tour restarted.

The actor said exploring different cities is one of his favorite parts of being on the road. Growing up in Long Island, Belo's family visited one of two cities. It was either New York City or Philadelphia.

"To be able to explore our country (is) something I really enjoy," said Belo, who was on a bridge that connects Cincinnati and Kentucky while conducting this interview. "I like to explore each city and see what it has to offer."

Belo wouldn't have been able to have this opportunity if he hadn't cut out of his general economics final.

"I think I probably would have been booked for something else eventually, but I don't know if I'd be doing something like this," he said with a laugh. "I never thought, in my wildest dreams, I'd get to be in HAMILTON right out of college. It's truly incredible. I feel really blessed by it."

Tickets for HAMILTON are still available for its Oct. 4-22 run at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St, downtown Columbus). Patrons are advised to check the official HAMILTON channels at www.CBUSArts.com, 614-469-0939, or in-person at the CBUSArts Ticket Center at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.) for late release seats which may become available at short notice.

HAMILTON LOTTERY

Producer Jeffrey Seller and PNC Broadway in Columbus announced a digital lottery for HAMILTON tickets will begin in conjunction with the show's first performance on Tuesday, October 4 in Columbus at the Ohio Theatre. A limited number of tickets will be available for every performance for $10 each. The lottery will first open at 10:00 AM Friday, September 23 and will close at 12:00 PM September 29 for tickets to performances October 4-9. Subsequent digital lotteries will begin on each Friday and close the following Thursday for the upcoming week's performances.

Use the official app for HAMILTON, now available for all iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store (http://hamiltonmusical.com/app).

The lottery will open at 10:00 AM every Friday and will close for entry at 12:00 PM the next Thursday prior to the following week's performances. Winner and non-winner notifications will be sent between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM every Thursday for the upcoming week's performances via email and mobile push notification. Winners will have two hours to claim and pay for their ticket(s).


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From This Author - Paul Batterson


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