Beaver County native joins 'Hamilton' cast on Broadway
It didn't take Amber Ardolino long to get from tiny Fombell, Beaver County, to the bright lights of Broadway.
The 24-year-old performer has just joined the cast of the hit musical "Hamilton," which has been playing in New York's Richard Rodgers Theatre since August 2015.
"I'm really lucky to have this cool opportunity to perform," Ardolino says. "Broadway was the last thing I wanted to check off my list."
Her first rehearsal with the Broadway cast will be on Jan. 12, with her actual stage debut scheduled for sometime in the following week.
Ardolino will perform as a standby in the roles of Peggy Schuyler, Hamilton's sister-in-law and confidante, and Maria Reynolds, with whom Hamilton committed adultery. She also will contribute to the "Hamilton" ensemble tracks as needed.
Winner of Pulitzer Prize, Grammy and Tony awards, "Hamilton" sets the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton to a score blending hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and show tunes.
Ardolino took her first steps toward Broadway with dance lessons beginning at age 3. At 13, she added voice lessons.
"Once I found out you could sing and dance at once, I was hooked," she says. "Things escalated really quickly. I got serious about my craft and pushed myself really hard."
Ardolino is a 2011 graduate of the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland, Beaver County. She also took theater classes at Point Park University during high school.
Though she was accepted into the musical theater program at Syracuse University, she decided to skip college and head straight to work to achieve her dreams.
"That's not typical, but I felt so ready from high school to just go straight out into New York and to audition for Broadway that I kind of skipped the college part, which is not for everyone. I think everyone has a different path. For me, I just had to get out there and do it," she says, crediting the Lincoln Park curriculum with preparing her to work in professional theater.
She performed with the ensembles for the national tours of "West Side Story" and "Legally Blonde," and in a Las Vegas production of "Rock of Ages," before joining the cast of "Hamilton" at the CIBC Theatre in Chicago when the show opened there in September 2016.
From there, the next stop was Broadway.
Her parents, Jodie and Randy Hamilton, will travel from Fombell for her debut.
"Funny enough, their name is Hamilton," she says. "I don't know if that helped me or not."
And where is there to go after Broadway?
"I always said I wanted to go to Los Angeles, so maybe film is next."
With her attitude and track record, she'll make it.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, email@example.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.