The smash musical "Hamilton" opens Tuesday night at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, about a year and a half after it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And it will be a big night for a Texas Christian University alum making his debut on the Bass stage.
"If I had told myself 10 years ago, I would be doing this, I would not have believed myself," said John Devereaux, a native Texan with a role in the musical.
Devereaux grew up in Houston with his sights set on being a doctor. He graduated from TCU in 2012 with a BFA in theater, then headed to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He got a few acting gigs but the theater kept calling him back. He joined international tours of the hit musicals "RENT" and "Dreamgirls" and in between, he tried out for "Hamilton."
In 2019, Devereaux moved to New York and it proved to be the right step. Three months after moving across the country, he joined the cast of the national touring company of "Hamilton."
"I made my debut on June 6, and it was surreal. It was surreal being on the stage and knowing that all the work I had done to that point had just culminated in that moment," Devereaux said of his debut in Louisville, Kentucky, performances of "Hamilton" in 2019. "All the years of work, thinking about the kid who didn't even want to be in theater."
In the role of Man 6, he's part of the male ensemble but also the understudy for three principal roles of George Washington, Hercules Mulligan/James Madison and King George. Just like a parent, he loves all three roles yet for different reasons.
He says King George is his favorite character to play "because he has the most fun. He's so far removed from the world of work and grime. He has everything, the most powerful person in the show. He's also a mad king," Devereaux said.
With Mulligan and Madison comes the challenge of playing two different people, and he performs "Yorktown," which captures the events that occurred during the Battle of Yorktown, the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.
"The 'Yorktown' rap is probably my favorite thing to do in the show, period," he said.
And he loves playing George Washington, and why not? "He's the founding father, the first president."
And it's Deveaureax's George Washington the audience at Bass Performance Hall will see from opening night through Jan. 20. It will be a big moment for the Horned Frog. He'll step onto the stage he once toured while a student at TCU.
"Bass Hall was one of the places we got to go to. And being on the stage, it was incredible. I was like, I would love to play this stage. I would love to play this house. And little did I know that all these years later, and now I have the opportunity. It's kind of a full-circle moment," Devereaux smiled. "My time in Fort Worth was such a formative time, and it's really a time where I shaped my love of theater and what theater does and how it brings people together."
Devereaux is thrilled to be back on tour after the coronavirus pandemic stopped production in March 2020 while the show was in Miami. The tour did not resume until August 2021.
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During those long months, Devereaux found new audiences. He jumped onto TikTok using material from "Hamilton" and found a way to communicate with a community he didn't know existed nor realized he could connect with through creative videos.
He also stretched his creative talents into the business world and launched a candle company.
"Being on the road, it's hard to find your center, to be grounded. I always found myself missing my mom and my friends," he said. So, he would buy the same scent of candle in every city to connect to something familiar.
He decided to stop buying candles and make his own with his company called Of Yours.
"We all know candles can set the ambiance of a room, but the closest of our senses tied to memory is scent. The name is 'Of Yours' because when you light our candle or use our products, you’ll be reminded of a special someone, somewhere, or something of yours," explains the website.
Devereaux wants to spend more time on his company and perhaps move back to Los Angeles to get back into acting. For now, though, he's proud to be part of one of the biggest musicals of all time.
Hamilton runs at Bass Performance Hall through Feb. 6.
A few tickets are still available.