Behind the Curtain: Josh Tower (Aaron Burr) of ‘Hamilton’


Josh Tower plays Aaron Burr in Hamilton.

Aaron Barr may be one of America’s most notorious villain’s, but Josh Tower, aka Burr in the national tour of Hamilton opening Tuesday at the Peace Center for a two-week run, believe there is more to the man than “just a bad guy.”

Known as the Angelica company (the first ntional tour that stopped in Greenville before Covid) this Hamilton is one of three casts touring North America this week. Yes, Hamilton fever is in full swing.

“Especially in our contemporary gun age, Barr is considered a [villain],” Tower said by phone during the show’s recent stop in Raleigh Durham, coming full circle to the Triangle where he trained at UNC’s grad school.

“But you see his journey and Hamilton’s journey and the things that they do, and realize that they are all flawed people. They were all immigrants and founding fathers of this country, and all were slaveholders at one time or another. Even though Hamilton is the country’s founding treasurer, and started the national bank, audiences will say by the end of the show that these guys ‘are a mess’.”

Tower has an impressive list of Broadway roles to his credit from Ragtime and Rent to Simba in The Lion King, in addition to numerous film and TV credits. He says he has always been drawn to shows where “people have either gotten stardom from them, or the show is the star.”

Tower, who played George Washington in an early workshop production of Hamilton, before eventfully landing Burr, said he is “always really excited to take this show around the country especially up and down the east coast where a lot of these things happened.”

“And I am proud that when I go to any theatre and any city to explore this experience with audience – especially in the wake of so much tragedy and gun violence – that we are coming together, crying together and hopefully, healing together.”

CCC: What is the most difficult part of being in Hamilton the production?

JT: It’s more difficult for our crew – electricians, carpenters, advance crew, props artists, costumer, stage managers, etc. – that have to fit our set in a different theatre at every stop. The stage area is the same but it’s the backstage spaces (dressing, props, etc.) that change with every venue.

CCC: As an actor of color, have you seen any changes in casting, producing, BIPOC stories on Broadway, Off-Broadway in the touring industry?

JT: Specifically with Hamilton, this kind of color blind casting has been an old attempt that has been highlighted by Hamilton when they do a show where they don’t care about skin color.

Early on in Rent, which is an urban New York City story, they kind of typecast. I auditioned and I wanted to be Roger (except he was a blonde hair white guy).

I think the possibilities have come back (since Covid) and there are more opportunities now like A Strange Loop (with LGBTQ characters and non-traditional body types). It’s gotten really specific and really beautiful.

I think producers are very choosy about what they will select to fully produce. Its a money choice because Broadway shows are not just for New Yorkers but for out of town people too. It’s such a metropolitan mecca and New Yorkers will always go see things off-off-Broadway, before they make it to Broadway. Producing is risk-taking…and people are still looking for a sure bet like Hamilton or Rent. They’re always hoping to produce the next Les Miz, Miss Saigon or My Fair Lady, shows that will always come back.

Our company is made up of many ethnicities, nationalities, genders and sexual preferences.

Hamilton is a testament to the sentiment of togetherness and the fact that we get to reflect the audiences that see us. We are such a melting pot. Hamilton really is a good place for theatre to spotlight and aspire to. Hopefully people can walk out and start a conversation about these issues.

And if you’re not a Hamilfan? “If you don’t like the music, enjoy the history. If you don’t like the history, enjoy the dance numbers,” Tower said.

Hamilton runs June 7-19 at the Peace Center, 300 S. Main St in Greenville. For tickets, visit or call (864) 467-3000. For $10 Lottery ticket info, visit

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