Role of a Lifetime

USD alumnus Edred Utomi


When last seen in San Diego, Edred Utomi ‘13 (BA) was rocking a bright-red wig as an ensemble member in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Old Globe.

Now comes the natural follow-up: A role in the megahit musical Hamilton.

As Alexander Hamilton.

Wait … what?

It’s true: Less than four months after wrapping Grinch and then heading off to New York City in hopes of finding work in theater, Utomi is living a stage actor’s dream. He’s traveling the country as the standby for the title character in the “Angelica” tour of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton — one of the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning show’s two U.S. road companies.

“It’s crazy to say that I get to play Hamilton in Hamilton,“ Utomi says with an amazed laugh. “It’s my dream show; it’s the dream role. It’s really been such blessing.”

If Utomi’s chorus-to-stardom story sounds like something out of a Broadway fable, it probably comes as less of a surprise to those who had been following his career in San Diego.

While he’d never really had a big, breakout role in his five years of stage work since graduating from USD, the way he stood out in ensemble roles was a clear sign of his talent.

Now, Utomi is getting a taste of what it’s like “to be able to be a part of a show like that for hundreds and thousands of other people. You go to the stage door and the fans are crying or are so happy they can’t speak.” Utomi can’t help but think back to an evening in December 2017 when his sister won the ticket lottery to see the musical in Los Angeles and invited him to go.

“I had a show that night,” Utomi recalls. “I was so bummed. But I was in The Grinch, and I was loving it. I told her, ‘Go!’

“But I was always talking about speaking things into the universe, so I said, ‘It’s fine, I’ll be IN it someday, so it’s cool.’ “And then fast-forward a few months. And I’m actually in it.” — James Herbert

Reprinted from the San Diego Union-Tribune, which ran a version of this story in its pages.


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