Around Albany, teacher and actor Lajas says he’s known as the “Lin twin.”
Lin, of course, refers to Lin-Manuel Miranda, which makes him the perfect performer for “Hamiltunes: An American Singalong,” which kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday at Music Haven.
Co-presented with Proctors, it’s the only official “Hamilton” singalong in the area and it comes just a few weeks before the musical makes its way to Schenectady.
"What could be more fun than watching a gaggle of Schenectady's biggest theatre fans sing along with all their favorites from 'Hamilton,'" said Jean Leonard, chief of staff at Proctors, in a statement.
There are some incredible musicians and performers on the line-up, like Taína Asili of Taína Asili y la Banda Rebelde, Caitlin Barker of Candy Ambulance and Garland Nelson of Soul Session.
Asili is based in Albany, though her sound echoes an Afro-Latin fusion. She's been featured by many international news outlets and has performed at Carnegie Hall and at The Women's March on Washington. She also played Abuela Claudia in SLOC's production of "In the Heights."
Lajas, who played Usnavi in SLOC's 2018 production, is a talented performer, with a focus on dance and rapping. He founded Tap Dance Company and teaches social studies teacher at Albany Community Charter School.
Though “Hamilton,” is the most popular thing on Broadway, Lajas has been a fan of Miranda’s since “In the Heights.”
“I went to New York City in 2010 to audition for ‘In the Heights,’” Lajas said.
Unfortunately, he found out when he got there that organizers would only allow equity actors to audition. Lajas refused to leave and ended up catching a glimpse of Miranda and chasing after him as he got onto an elevator.
Lajas asked for the chance to audition and though Miranda was working on another show and couldn’t help him, he praised Lajas’ passion and gave him some advice that Lajas strictly followed: “Keep pushing.”
Lajas was able to audition for the show that day, which was a positive experience, even if he didn’t land the role.
Last year, Lajas received a personal request for an audition for “Hamilton,” and two other call-back auditions. While he hasn’t heard back from the last audition, which was in December, Lajas said he’s focused on staying present with the show and working on his vocals.
“For ‘Hamilton,’ they’re looking for those who can sing and rap,” Lajas said.
Thus, he has the entire soundtrack memorized.
On Thursday, he’s planning to perform “Satisfied” and “My Shot” with Asili. The latter is one of his favorite tracks, along with “Non-Stop.”
Attendees can also catch rising theater star Annabelle Duffy at the singalong. Duffy won Best Actress in the High School Musical Theatre Awards in 2018 and was nominated again for the award this year.
Michael McCord, Capital Campaign Director at Proctors will be singing as well as other surprise guests. Attendees can show off their vocals and take part in the singalong as well.
For those who don’t yet have their tickets for “Hamilton,” there’s a chance to win a pair at the event. Enter the Music Haven raffle for $1 a ticket or $5 for six tickets. Winners will also receive a $50 gift card to Johnny’s.
Mike's Hotdogs will be on hand with picnic pickings; Ben & Jerry's will supply the ice cream. Wolf Hollow Brewing Company and Nine Pin Cider will be available.
For more info visit musichavenstage.org.