Isa Briones, just 19, is one of the youngest cast members of "Hamilton The Musical." And she gets why the landmark show, which arrives at the Boston Opera House next week for a two month run, is such a huge, sold-out hit.
"It's like nothing before -- a musical for our generation that has reached a mainstream audience," said Briones, who plays the dual roles of Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds.
"Hamilton," by Lin Manuel Miranda, tells the story of Alexander Hamilton. A Founding Father of America, friend and aide to Gen. George Washington, first secretary of the Treasury, he was also embroiled in America's first political sex scandal and was killed in a duel with his rival Aaron Burr. But the story is told with rap lyrics and features color-blind casting that is refreshingly contemporary.
"It's amazing -- you learn this history and the feelings of these people," said Briones.
No stranger to touring and musical theater, she grew up on the road since her father, Jon-Jon Briones, was part of the "Miss Saigon" company, playing London and touring the world with it for 25 years. Her mother, Megan Johnson Briones, is an actress, too, and a graduate of the Boston Conservatory.
"My parents met in Germany when they were in 'Miss Saigon.' I was born in London and have toured all over with them," said Briones, who began modeling at age 3 and acting in 2006 when her family moved to Los Angeles.
"My upbringing was unusual, but I am fortunate to have toured the world."
It's a dream come true to be in "Hamilton," she said.
"I knew I have to be a part of it, and I was floating the night of my debut. It's incredible to be a part of something so extraordinary," she said.
Playing Boston will be a treat, she said.
"My mom is planning to visit and show me the city where she went to school," she said.
To find out about ticket availability and the #HAM4HAM lottery (40 tickets at each performance for $10 each), visit http://hamiltonmusical.com/lottery to register. Also check www.Ticketmaster.com for late ticket releases and follow Broadway in Boston's social-media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates on tickets.
Nancye Tuttle's email address is email@example.com.
On the marquee
WILDE REBOOT: Greater Boston Stage Company (formerly Stoneham Theatre) opens its 19th season with "Being Earnest," Sept. 13-Oct. 7. Written by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruksa, the show is a musical interpretation of "The Importance of Being Earnest," Oscar Wilde's classic comedy. Set in 1960s London, it is full of non-stop comedy and romance wrapped up in mistaken identities and the sounds of the British invasion. "We stayed true to the play, leaving Wilde's dialogue nearly completely intact. But besides music and lyrics, we added various quotes from sources other than Wilde, which allowed us to go even further in his madness in some areas," said the writers. The cast includes Ephie Aardema, Sara Coombs, Kerry A. Dowling, Beth Gotha, Dave Heard, Michael Jennings Mahoney and Will McGarahan. Tickets are $50-$60, adults; $45-$55, seniors and $20, students with valid ID. Call 781-279-2200 or visit www.greaterbostonstage.org.
NO PILLOW NEEDED: Actress Vivia Font isn't using a pillow in her portrayal of the very pregnant Tania in Karen Zacharias' "Native Gardens," which opens this week at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell. In fact, she's 6 1/2 months along, with her baby due Dec. 6. "There's something extremely personal about being a pregnant woman on stage," said Font, who has had to adjust to the fight choreography for the play. "I have to calibrate my physicality a little more with a baby growing in me," she said. And, she added, how she plays Tania and the character's motivations, are a reflection of their pregnancies. "Everything I do is influenced by the fact that I am pregnant. It's a pressing thing -- insecurity and safety, our neighbors, we have to live next to these people and everything has to be OK because this is coming," she said. Tickets to the topical comedy are available at www.mrt.org.
TRASH TALKING: The foul-mouthed puppets are back at Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, N.H., for a limited run of "Avenue Q," Sept. 13-30. Featuring nearly 100 puppets made from recycled and reclaimed materials, the quirky show won several Spotlight Awards. Guaranteed to leave audiences in stitches, it's R-rated and definitely not for kids. For times and tickets, visit www.seacoastrep.org.