RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As the Angelica Tour of Hamilton the Musical wraps up in Richmond, a Hanover native has been paying forward his success while spending three weeks performing for a home audience.
“For Hamilton to be in Richmond, Virginia for three weeks over Thanksgiving and then going to Norfolk during Christmas, meaning I can come back for Christmas, doesn’t happen - it’s serendipitous,” Taylor Daniels said.
The 27-year-old grew up dancing, singing and acting. He performed in the Nutcracker with the Richmond Ballet, and danced in the City Dance Troupe at Pine Camp Cultural Arts and Community Center. In high school, he ran track at Collegiate School and performed in several plays and musicals, landing lead roles along the way. Daniels graduated from the New School on Broadway at New York University in 2014.
In the years following graduation, Daniels toured with ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,' and ‘Cinderella.' Both shows made stops in Richmond.
“This place has history," Daniels said while sitting in Collegiate’s Oates Theater. “I did the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ monologues walking through the aisles here."
Wednesday, he went back to Collegiate, where he spent most of his life, seeing teachers and current students, even stopping to join in on an improvisation exercise with a middle school class.
For NBC12′s Jasmine Turner, the chance to sit down and interview Daniels is a full-circle moment. The two performed in shows together while they attended Collegiate in high school.
"You probably don’t remember this, but one day when I was 16 and maybe you were 17, we were at a gas station, and you said to me ‘girl, when I leave, I am not coming back,’” she said during their interview. “You said, ‘I am going to perform, I am going to chase my dreams,’ and you did it.”
Daniels is on stage every night, performing in eight shows a week. In ‘Hamilton,’ ensemble members get feature roles, and Daniels plays George Eaker, who fights Alexander Hamilton’s son in the second act of the show.
During his time touring in his home state, Daniels has been visiting with school and community groups, to share his story and words of wisdom for aspiring performers. When he thinks about his own journey, Daniels remembers his mindset as a teenager.
“I just knew you go to school and then you graduate, you audition, maybe you move to New York. It’s going to be really difficult, and you don’t know what is going to happen,” he explained. “I knew you couldn’t half do anything, especially in this field. On the days when I wake up and say ‘I don’t feel like doing this, maybe I will call out,’ I say ‘no you’re not, you worked so hard for this.'"
Daniels says the reward for not giving up, is being able to perform every day. During his time in Richmond, Daniels has had a large support system, of family, friends, former classmates and more cheering for him at every show.
“I think the love and support I have had from everyone growing up and just continuing to support me - that’s it,” said Daniels.
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