Meet Oakland Rapper Daveed Diggs, Star of the Broadway Smash Hit ‘Hamilton’
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By Matt Werner for 7×7 on February 02, 2016 12:00 PM
Bay Area theater freaks collectively swooned this month when it was announced that Broadway’s runaway hit musical Hamilton, a multi-ethnic rap-based telling of America’s founding fathers, is coming to San Francisco in 2017. The play may have gotten its start in New York, but in some ways, the SF run represents a homecoming: Rapper Daveed Diggs, who plays two lead roles (Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson) is a native and diehard advocate of Oakland.
Diggs is well known in certain elite circles: He’s performed for President Obama (twice), the Clintons, and Beyoncé and Jay-Z to name a few. But the son of a Jewish DJ mother and a MUNI bus–driving father has deep roots in the East Bay. Early influence found in Oakland’s hip-hop and hyphy cultures gives Diggs a particularly liquid tongue: In his role as Marquis de Lafayette, he perfectly nails one of the fastest rap solos in the history of the genre.
But, Diggs had no major acting experience before being cast in what’s become the hottest show on Broadway. We caught up with the rapper-cum-actor, currently in Manhattan, to find out how he made it made happen, how his Oakland upbringing influences the musical itself, and why he thinks the Bay Area will crazy love Hamilton…
Image: Daveed Diggs (Photo by Karl Simone, via dot429)