Canberra performer Kirrah Amosa is right now amid rehearsals as part of the cast of Hamilton, one of Australia’s most eagerly anticipated musicals.
“It’s overwhelming in the best way, we’re all very excited and very ready,” she told Canberra Weekly.
Amosa booked the part of standby for Eliza Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler, and Peggy/Maria mid-way through 2020 and commenced rehearsals in Sydney six weeks ago.
Her audition process started under less-than-ideal circumstances right back in November 2019.
“I went in to the in-person auditions in Sydney quite sick,” Amosa said.
“I couldn’t really sing a lot of the Eliza material, which was quite disheartening … I went out of the audition knowing I couldn’t have given it my best.”
Despite her own doubts, Amosa clearly did something right as the producers asked her back.
A few emails and video auditions later, it was in the middle of last year’s brutal Canberra winter, Amosa found herself on Centrelink living in her parent’s basement when she got the call to say she’d been cast.
“It was a really difficult time for me, my mental health was low, and I had a lot of people saying it would be a great time to write, but the creative juices weren’t there, and motivation wasn’t there.
“I’d almost given up on thinking an opportunity like this was in my reach … but here we are and I’m very proud to be representing my family, Canberrans and Samoan culture.”
Well familiar with the show’s magnificent soundtrack for some time, Amosa fell in love with Hamilton after being brought to tears when a friend played her Satisfied.
“Ever since then I was just going through the album on Spotify over and over again; because the show is quite long, I’d only get halfway through and then never listen to the second half.
“Once I booked the show, I only listened to second half and there’s no dull number.”
Speaking to Canberra Weekly just over two weeks before previews start at Sydney Lyric Theatre on 17 March, Amosa said there’s an “electric energy” in the rehearsal room.
“Moving into the theatre will be such an added element that brings the whole story to life. Doing it in the rehearsal room is different without the props lighting and two levels in the set.”
Tasked with being a standby for the three roles, Amosa said she’s been diligently soaking in everything she can.
“I have OCD for learning this kind of material; I’m writing on notepads, on my phone taking notes trying to make sure I have all the information,” she said.
It would be an understatement to say that since debuting off-Broadway in 2015, Hamilton has been a smash hit in the USA.
Despite the work chronicling the life of an historic American figure, Amosa said the musical will resonate similarly with Australian audiences due to its relatability and exquisite soundtrack.
“The story is about someone trying to work hard with the opportunities they’ve got,” she said. “I think Australia is filled with people like that, a lot of immigrants or people who don’t have much and are working their way to where they want to be.
“When you look around you see faces of different shapes and colours and that’s what you’re going to find on stage, which is a really great breath of fresh air.”
Amosa said emerging as an artist in her hometown of Canberra was made easier by the fact her father, Steve Amosa, is a well-established, successful musician here.
“I was able to come from a place of immense strength and support through my family, which has definitely propelled me in the direction I am today,” she said.
“Canberra was such a great place to grow up, I’m very lucky.
“If any Canberrans are coming to the show, please let me know so I can have a chat with them afterwards.”
Hamilton begins performances at Sydney Lyric Theatre from Wednesday 17 March; click here for more.
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