CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — Someone with strong Central Illinois roots is preparing to take the stage in the Big Apple.
Champaign’s Jonathan Butler-Duplessis is the next to play Aaron Burr in Hamilton on Broadway.
The Central High and University of Illinois grad started his career at the Station Theater in Urbana. He performed in many shows at the Krannert Center as a U of I student and was highly involved in shows in the Chicagoland area.
He said he was cast to cover many different roles in Hamilton, but wasn’t expecting to play Burr right off the bat. He added that he is one of the few joining the cast without performing in Hamilton in any capacity before.
The actor calls it a “life-changing opportunity.” Even with the rehearsals being some of the toughest he’s gone through, he said the preparation throughout the last month has been worth it.
“There’s an out-of-body experience that I had during the last rehearsal,” Butler-Duplessis said. “You’re doing the final duel and you’re staring across from Hamilton. You’re in full costume and everyone’s jumping and kicking and spitting and you’re like ‘this is really me. This is really happening.'”
He said he wouldn’t be in this position without all of his teachers and mentors at each level. Butler-Duplessis said he hopes he can act as a role model for others who are working to follow in his footsteps, especially young kids from the C-U area. He still considers Champaign home.
Butler-Duplessis will step into the role for the first time on Thursday.