MEET THE ‘HAMILTON’ CAST: Neil Haskell thinks he can play King George – and succeeds

The Broadway tour of “Hamilton” will include a two-week run in Dayton at the Schuster Center during the 2021-22 season. JOAN MARCUS/CONTRIBUTED

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The Broadway tour of “Hamilton” will include a two-week run in Dayton at the Schuster Center during the 2021-22 season. JOAN MARCUS/CONTRIBUTED

Making the most of the old adage that less is more, Neil Haskell brings properly pompous scorn to his humorously jaded portrayal of King George III in “Hamilton,” continuing through Feb. 6 at the Schuster Center.

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Neil Haskell portrays King George III in "Hamilton." (PHOTO COURTESY OF DAYTON LIVE)

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Neil Haskell portrays King George III in "Hamilton." (PHOTO COURTESY OF DAYTON LIVE)

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Neil Haskell portrays King George III in "Hamilton." (PHOTO COURTESY OF DAYTON LIVE)

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

As the founding fathers desire change and revolution, George halts the action to question their motives and offer stark warnings in “You’ll Be Back,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s clever, tuneful, Beatles-inspired ditty. Mastering the role’s prissy physicality and nonchalant temperament, Haskell, resisting the temptation to overdo, allows the song to stand on its own as a genuine source of comic relief.

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Big break: In 2007, Haskell, a classically trained, contemporary dancer, finished third on Season 3 of the Emmy-winning FOX reality TV series “So You Think You Can Dance.” In 2010, he returned for Season 7 to participate as an all-star, performing opposite season runner-up Kent Boyd, a contemporary dancer from Botkins, Ohio.

Previous credits: In addition to spending four years in “Hamilton” on Broadway covering six male ensemble roles as a swing including King George and Charles Lee, Haskell appeared in the Broadway productions of “The Times They Are A-Changin,’” “9 to 5,” “Bring it On: The Musical,” “Cinderella” and “Tuck Everlasting.” He was also in the off-Broadway production of “Altar Boyz.” His TV credits include “Station 19″ and “Glee,” and he danced in the film adaptations of “Jersey Boys” and “Rock of Ages.”

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Thoughts on acting and dancing: Two months ago, the “Hamilton” tour played Haskell’s hometown of Buffalo, New York. He spoke with local radio station WBFO about playing King George in the shadow of Jonathan Groff’s original, Tony-nominated portrayal immortalized in the Emmy-winning 2020 Disney+ adaptation. He also shared his admiration for Andy Blankenbuehler’s stellar choreography. “It feels a whole lot different now than it did before the Disney+ version came out because now everybody knows what they think and what they expect of King George,” he said. “So, it was a little bit scarier coming back to the role because everybody knows what they expect of the show now… (‘Hamilton’) is an incredibly intense dance show. Andy Blankenbuehler painted this world with movement, with so much texture. And dancing the show for four years or so, my body was definitely feeling it, as anybody in the ensemble would be able to speak to. But it’s such a joy to be able to dance every night and some nights I miss that. And then some nights, I’m like, ‘God, my body is already sore from just being in the gym and warming up to do King George.’ So, I’m a little thankful that I’m not dancing the show tonight.”

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HOW TO GO

What: “Hamilton: An American Musical”

Where: Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton

When: Through Feb. 6; Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 4 at 8 p.m.; Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Length: 2 hours and 50 minutes including a 20-minute intermission

Cost: $49-$349

Tickets: Call Ticket Center Stage at 937-228-3630 or visit daytonlive.org.

COVID-19 protocol: Masks are required for patrons over the age of 6

FYI: Be sure to visit daytonlive.org to stay informed of any potential “Hamilton” cancellations before or during its run.

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