Wonza Johnson grew up in Lancaster, thrived in the arts-focus program at Andrew Jackson Middle School, and left to pursue his dreams at the Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities.
Now 24, he lives in New York City and performs in the national tour of “Hamilton: An American Musical,” the Broadway blockbuster that has sold out Charlotte’s Belk Theater since Oct. 10.
Johnson often plays the lead role of Alexander Hamilton.
With only a week left in the show’s Charlotte run, Johnson stopped by Andrew Jackson Middle and AJ High School Friday morning, addressing crowds of ecstatic students at both schools.
“This school laid the foundation for everything,” Johnson said at the middle school. “I learned how to juggle here. I was in a clown troupe. I learned to play the piano. I started singing and I started dancing here.
“Everything started in that little hallway right there. I found my passion. I found my gift right at this school.”
Video from Wonza's visit to AJ Middle
In addition to the role of Alexander Hamilton, Johnson (whose first name is pronounced WAHN-zay) has played many characters in the traveling production – Marquis de Lafayette, Thomas Jefferson, Hercules Mulligan, James Madison, John Laurens and Philip Hamilton.
“Hamilton” won 11 Tonys in 2016 and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda. It has become a cultural phenomenon, incorporating hip hop, R&B, pop, soul and traditional show tunes and casting nonwhite actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures.
Johnson’s aunt, Shanita Doster, still lives in Lancaster, but the rest of his family lives in Georgia.
The actor said he tried for two years to land a role in the musical, almost giving up his Broadway dreams along the way.
“My mom reminded me that I do have a passion for this and no matter what obstacles come in my way, I’m going to make it,” Johnson said. “Yeah, there a lot more no’s, but that one yes is what got me here.”
He kept auditioning for other shows and kept performing until he got a call from one of the “Hamilton” casting reps. He performed again for them, and once he left the room, the casting rep followed him out and immediately told him he had a part in the show.
“It kind of felt like Christmas morning when you finally get exactly what you wanted,” he said of hearing that news for the first time. “And I knew I wanted to be in this show from the moment I listened to the soundtrack.
“To finally get that, after all that hard work and after all those auditions, it felt like it was something that was well deserved and I could finally breathe and just relax.”
(courtesy of The Lancaster News and Learn TV)
It Takes A Team!
All Members are asked to give $100 during the Mortgage Burning Service. Thanks!
Bible Study will resume after the Annual Conference
Pee Dee Annual Conference
November 14 - 18, 2018
Kenneth Monroe Transformation Center
Rock Hill, SC
Ms. Wilma Hood
Mrs. Nadine Morrison
*No Sunday Morning Service at Steele Hill , Nov. 18. Everyone is encouraged to attend service at the Annual Conference
The Senior Citizen Committee of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church will have our Annual Senior Citizen Prom Saturday, November 3, 2018 at North Elementary School. 55 years and older. The time is 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM. Formal Wear please. The Committee
All parent's of college students are asked to submit the names of their college students to Tina Johnson or Keisa Barr-McIlwain by Sunday, Nov. 4. Thanks!
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." MLK, Jr.
Contacts: Robin Kirk/Verta W. Looper
Tuesday, November 6
7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
All Polling Locations
This is not a spectator sport. Every person needs to put on your uniform and make your way to the polls!
Contact: Mae Barber, Verta W. Looper, Fred Witherspoon
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Oprah is in Georgia!
Oprah Winfrey is joining the campaign trail canvasing for Democrat Stacey Abrams in the Georgia gubernatorial election. Abrams is locked in a tight race with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
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