All the stars seemed to align when Hays High alumna and current New York City resident Alaina Maderal received her big break.
While staying in her parents’ hotel during their visit to the Big Apple just before Thanksgiving, Maderal received an unexpected phone call from her agent. It was a sign that something big had happened.
With her mom in the room, Maderal was told she had been selected to join the Angelica production of the hit Broadway musical, “Hamilton.” Screams of joy, a few tears, and a quick sprint around the hotel room soon followed.
For Maderal, who celebrated with a photo in front of the “Hamilton” marquee across the street from her parents’ hotel that day, joining the musical was truly a dream come true.
“There are so many emotions because it’s a dream come true,” Maderal said. “I’ve worked so hard for something like this and it kind of happened.”
Maderal was selected as swing ensemble dancer in the musical, which is one of six existing productions of “Hamilton.” The Angelica production is the first of two national touring groups that followed the musical’s initial run on Broadway.
As a swing, Maderal fills in for ensemble dancers who might be sick or injured. There are five ensemble dancers in the show.
Maderal got the part following an extensive audition process that took about two weeks. The first few auditions dealt with dancing only, while the latter combined a performer’s dancing and singing ability.
In total, Maderal took part in five to six auditions. Each time, she “climbed the ladder” and kept getting callbacks.
“It’s quite a process. It’s not a one-time deal,” Maderal said. “You have to keep going and get call backs and go through as many cuts as possible.”
Once she got the green light to join, Maderal had to quickly pack and prepare for life on the road. Currently, the Angelica production has an open-ended schedule.
As such, touring life consists of bouncing from city to city with the group. Maderal said life on the road is different, as performers must find ways to live a semi-normal life, while still training and practicing for performances.
Little things, such as finding a hotel with a kitchen to cook meals or stores to grab the necessities, become key points to keep in mind while on the road. The Angelica production stays three to four weeks in each city before traveling to its next stop.
Through it all, Maderal has received the advice of performers, who offer suggestions on how to cope with the schedule and practices.
“Jumping into tour can be quite a lot, but it’s nice to have friends in the cast that are supportive,” Maderal said. “It’s a great environment to be around.”
The entire experience is surreal for Maderal, who grew up as a dancer and a gymnast. It wasn’t until she was at Hays High when she began to take a shine to the theater stage.
Helping that cause was former Hays High theater teacher Brandon Snyder, who Maderal said was her mentor. Snyder taught Maderal about the theater and all it has to offer.
Support from friends in theater pushed Maderal toward her career path. Maderal’s first production was “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Hays High. Maderal was in at least one production during each of her four years at Hays.
“Doing shows and meeting people in theater and drama class, I immediately loved it,” Maderal said. “I felt like I had a group of people I gravitated toward. I’ve never met people who were more open and fun.”
Maderal hopes to continue working with the cast of “Hamilton.” She ultimately hopes to one day meet Lin Manuel-Miranda, who created the musical.
But Maderal is also planning her next gig, too. Her ultimate dream is to perform on the big stage on Broadway one day.
“I’m grateful and thankful to be a part of something that’s life-changing,” Maderal said. “It’s crazy and insane. I never would have thought I could be here. I always knew I wanted to be a performer on a great piece of art and that’s what this is.”