Having been one of the lucky ones to witness this production, I’m here to tell you that it is worth every single penny. I’ve already declared it my absolute favorite theatrical performance of all time. Do what you have to do to see this show!
One of the standout performances for me was Chris Lee as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. His fast talking persona was incredibly captivating and plus, his voice is out of this world. We definitely have a future Tony Award winner in our midst.
Since the Georgia native’s time in Chicago, Chris is certainly making the city his own. He’s had guest appearances on Empire and if you’re lucky, you can even catch him at performing at some exclusive venues. P.S, you may want to consider getting a SoHo House membership.
I caught up recently with Chris to get him to share his favorite hangouts in Chicago. Plus, we talked about what it was like receiving the role of a lifetime.
I trust Chris’s judgment so get out your planners and add some of these Chicago hot spots and gems to your list.
From Intern to Hamilton
TCL: Hi Chris! Getting to be one of the stars in Hamilton has to be the role of a lifetime. Can you share the moment when you found out you were cast? Take us back to that audition process.
CL: I originally sent in a video of me rapping something I wrote and singing some Stevie Wonder. I heard nothing for months. Then in March I got a callback for Hercules Mulligan. Eventually they asked me to read for Lafayette/Jefferson. I was in Durham, NC interning at a church when I got the news. I was in a Wal-Mart buying some lotion when I got the call. Changed my life!
TCL: Now that you’ve got the role of a lifetime, how did you prepare to be Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson?
TCL: Between Lafayette and Jefferson, who would you say you can relate to the most?
CL: I probably relate mostly to Lafayette. Fearless, Abolitionist, intelligent. I’d like to think I share a lot of qualities with him.
TCL: What has been the most rewarding part about being a part of Hamilton?
CL: The most rewarding part about this experience is that I’m not only doing what I love, but I’m doing what I love in a show that is literally changing lives.
Chicago vs. The South
TCL: As a native of the South, we can admit that the southern hospitality is second to none and the weather is definitely enviable. However, what are some things that you’ve noticed in Chicago that you may not find in the South?
CL: The culture here is completely different. People talk differently, dress differently. The hospitality isn’t lacking at all, it’s just different. There are some very diverse parts of the city, and the communities are very familial.
A Day in the Life of Chris
TCL: Take us through a typical off day for you. What are some of your favorite things to do in Chicago?
CL: I usually wake up and work out, and I do the show! I’ve done some corporate gigs for a lot of local companies. I love hitting up Lou Malnati’s, Harold’s Chicken, and RPM. The food here is amazing.
TCL: It’s our first time in the city and we only have 48 hours. What are some places that we must check out.
CL: You should check out all those places. The Art Institute, the Bean, Batter and Berries, Navy Pier and all places River North!
TCL: Let’s say we want some cocktails. What are your favorite places in the city to grab a drink and what cocktail should we order?
CL: I ALWAYS grab drinks at 3 Dots and a Dash. I love the Violet Hour. And I’m a member of Soho House and the one here in Chicago is awesome!
TCL: I’m sure you’ve had a chance to check out Chicago’s theater scene. Other than Hamilton, what performances or theaters should we check out?
CL: Definitely come see Aladdin. I have friends in it and they are all amazing. Jesus Christ Superstar is phenomenal. Great people in it!
Sweet Home Chicago
TCL: With Chicago becoming your second home, what has been your favorite part about living here?
TCL: Since your time in Chicago, what would you say is Chicago’s best hidden gem? Think about places that your average tourist may not know about.
CL: Batter and Berries on Lincoln Ave is by far the best hidden gem for breakfast. Wallace Smith (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison) go there every Sunday morning.
TCL: What’s next for you Chris?
CL: Next up, I’m not sure. I’m so happy and blessed to be where I am!!
Thanks to Chris for being a part of this feature. You can catch him in Hamilton at The Private Bank Theater. Just in case you don’t get tickets, you can always try hanging around some of his favorite spots. Can’t wait to see what Chris does next!