“Awesome” is an adjective often used to describe “Hamilton,” the widely acclaimed Broadway musical about American founding father Alexander Hamilton.
The same word can be used to sum up the nature of the business to get the traveling version of “Hamilton” from town to town.
One of the business leaders responsible for all of this is Penn Township native Brad Broman, who is returning home as the musical returns to Pittsburgh for the first time in three years after a pandemic-caused delay.
The show will run through March 13 at the Benedum Center, Downtown.
Broman, 38, helps oversee about 100 crew members who are part of the tour and 60 other local people in each city involved in setting up, breaking down and successfully moving the show to the next theater.
In addition to overseeing all of these crew members, he also manages the logistics of getting 11 or more trucks full of sets and equipment from location to location.
“We are moving forward all cities in terms of how we get there, where we stay. We do all the running of the show in town, making sure we rent with the venue,” Broman said. “We are also confirming all details contractually with the producer (Jeffrey Seller) and presenter.”
Broman has been with the company for four years. Ultimately, you might say, he does a lot of the unglamorous, detailed work that goes into productions.
“I always say we’re kind of like an accountant meets Siri and a soccer mom,” Broman said. “We (handle) all the money for the show, the ins and outs of the show, getting the show in and out of a city, and all the logistical planning for the tour itself.”
As if that weren’t enough to make Broman feel harassed, there are the pressures resulting from the pandemic.
“There are, of course, a lot more regulations and a lot more rules. It had an emotional impact on a lot of people – just the worry of being in a new city every two weeks. How is it going there? What is the screening rate, what is the vaccination rate? Bromann said.
“So it was a tough turnaround. But I think everyone is happy to be part of the return of theater, especially touring theater. And especially with a show like ‘Hamilton’ attracting so many people who have never been to the theater before,” he said. “We are excited to share what this means with them. And as difficult as it may be, I think it’s very rewarding and useful.
Despite all the stress he and others in the touring company experience, Broman said there were a lot of fun and quirky things happening on tour.
“Once at the start of the tour, one of the (lead actors) came in without wearing a microphone and although no one could hear him, the audience sang along and kind of filled in the words for him, which was quite funny and very exciting,” he said.
Growing up in Penn Township, Broman knew from an early age that he wanted to do theater. He remembers performing shows and sketches in the family living room and later at Penn-Trafford High School, where he performed in “Meet Me in St. Louis”, “Pippin”, “Me and My Girl” as main character Bill and “Oklahoma” as main character Will Parker.
After studying at New York University, Broman branched out into professional theater working, among other things, as a dancer on a touring production of “Hairspray.” Eventually, an injury curtailed the performance portion of his career. The tour managers took him under their wing and told him he would make a great business manager.
“They said since you can’t dance eight shows a week anymore, maybe that’s the path for you. They helped me make this change,” he said.
These days, Broman said he derives as much satisfaction from acting as ever.
“I’m really excited to bring ‘Hamilton’ back to Pittsburgh, not just to share it with my friends and family, but with the city of Pittsburgh in general,” he said. “It’s such a great theater city. And this show has really been a dream of mine since I was a kid, to bring a giant big national tour to town. I’ve been on a few other tours, but this one really takes the cake.
Paul Guggenheimer is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected]
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