‘The Last Ship’ cast member Shawna Hamic is originating the role of Mrs. Dees in the show. She spoke to Broadway In Chicago about her experiences so far during the pre-Broadway run.
I’ve been lucky enough to perform here in Chicago even before being a part of The Last Ship. I played the Cadillac Palace Theater twice as Madame Thenardier in the 25th Anniversary national tour of Les Miserables. So I have come to truly love Chicago and all it has to offer. This is actually my first time being here in a season other than Winter and I must admit- I like it even more when it’s warm outside. There is such a beauty to the city of Chicago. The buildings, the lake, the rivers, the museums, the culture, the food! So much to love. I have a few places i always have to visit when I’m here. For food it’s Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. I make a point of going every time I’m here. Another is a classic- Miller’s Pub on Wabash. It has an old school vibe and amazing food for really reasonable prices. I visit my favorite camera store (also on Wabash) called Central Camera. As an avid photographer I love to explore all the amazing history for sale. Film cameras and the places that sell them are a dying breed. Central Camera has been a family business for over 113 years. I just love it there.
Being here as a cast member in the pre-Broadway run of The Last Ship has been one of the most amazing experiences. It is unlike anything I’ve ever done. While I have been involved with a brand new musical before, this is the first time that it is Broadway bound and the first show that I’ve done that has changed daily. It has been a challenge and wonderful exercise on strengthening my muscles as well as the most important muscle for an actor- my brain! To be part of this company, led by our Director Joe Mantello, our Choreographer Steven Hoggett, Book by John Logan, Set and Costume Design by David Zinn, Orchestrations, Arrangements & Music Direction by Rob Mathes- It has been so fulfilling. I can’t end this blog without mentioning one of the most meaningful parts of this whole process… There has been a musician and artist who has written the music which is truly the soundtrack of my life. I associate important memories and moments with songs and most of them were written by the same person: Sting. To be a part of his first journey into musical theater has been an exhilarating and moving experience. He is humble and generous. He was there with us practically every day. Of course to be on hand to work on anything musically that needed tweaking, but also because he is as fascinated with the process as I am. A quiet man, yet still a dynamic presence, Sting continues to shape The Last Ship into something unforgettable. I can’t wait for audiences to experience the show. I hope they are as moved to be there as I am to be on the stage. I know that the show will continue to morph and change as we get closer to Broadway and the Neil Simon Theatre. I have never been more excited to continue a process as I am now. The work is blissful. I think that says a lot about a group of people when you look forward to going work every day. And I can say with all honesty- I do. So thank you Chicago for once again welcoming me and for being such a lovely fertile ground on which to grow a new brand work of art. You are a lovely town with wonderful citizens and I’m happy as can be to be here.
We’ll be doing a LIVE Twitter chat with Shawna at 12pm, Tuesday, July 1st! Join the conversation and ask your questions for her by using #LastShipBIC!