IPA Theater Students Meet Cast and Crew of Hamilton

They were in the room where it happened! Thirty-four Island Pacific Academy theater students had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet members of the cast of Hamilton at the Blaisdell Center on Thursday, January 19.

Gathered with students from Castle High School, the IPA Upper school students had a chance to ask questions about acting, life in the theater, and advice on how to get into the business.

“It was a really wonderful experience with the Hamilton cast and crew,” shared Brandi Dul, Secondary theater teacher. “Our IPA students asked such awesome questions. You could see the performers and the technicians excited to answer their questions, like they were questions they hadn’t been asked before and they generated real conversation.”

What they heard from the actors underscored the importance of resilience in the face of challenges, a commitment to excellence, and the power of yet. Many of the actors’ personal stories resonated with the students.

“The actors had very diverse backgrounds. Some of them went to art schools and some did not and they were really able to share their path to where they are now, and the idea that you need to be open to the opportunities that come your way,” said Dul.

“One of the most valuable lessons I took away is the importance of keeping one’s options open and recognizing that struggle is a fundamental aspect of achieving success,” shared Pierce Smallwood ‘24. “A particularly impactful story that stood out to me was that of Rachel Juozopaitis. Despite initially wanting to pursue acting, she discovered her passion for technical theater, a field that is traditionally male-dominated. Despite facing challenges, she persevered through discrimination and was able to achieve success, becoming an audio engineer as well as an assistant electrician.”

“One of our students asked the actors what had been their biggest highs and lows in the industry, and you could see them opening up and really sharing,” said Dul. “They got really deep about how important self-care was and how if you’re injured you end up kind of in isolation and in that isolation is when your deepest fears come in, like you’re not good enough. They were really diving into all of these things that the kids really needed to hear from a professional.”

“One of the things that the cast spoke about during each answer that showed their values was how they overcame their struggles,” reflected Lowell Chappell ‘26. “How they were able to open up about the issues they faced and how they got past them proved to me that these were all very strong people. I could relate to these people because I myself have struggles, and having someone like this to look up to is very important to me.”

This unique experience was one the students will remember, and they will take with them some valuable advice gleaned from the actors’ personal trials and tribulations.

“I was super appreciative of the opportunity I had to go and meet the cast for Hamilton. It was an amazing experience to be able to learn about theater from a professional point of view,” said Chappell.

“I was grateful to attend the Hamilton Meet & Greet as a variety of actors and crew heads from the production provided valuable perspectives to aspiring young actors,” said Smallwood. “This experience was incredibly insightful and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from the personal experiences of those within the theater industry.”