PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Talk about being "On Your Feet."
SUNY Purchase grad Tanairi Vazquez literally went from that show to "Hamilton," pulling double-duty in terms of rehearsals (for "Hamilton") and performances (for "On Your Feet") for much of August. But she's not complaining. The Manhattan resident, who grew up in Alexandria, VA and was born and raised by Puerto Rican parents, said her new role is "a dream come true."
"I remember seeing the show as an audience member about a year ago before even thinking of possibly being part of the company and I learned so much and was moved immensely," she said. "It was something I had never experienced before in theater.
"Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius and such a humble person and to be Latina and Puerto Rican like him and to represent where I come from, just fills my soul."
Vazquez, who has previously been in four other Broadway shows, said going to Purchase -- she graduated in 2010 -- helped her find her identity as an artist and performer, offering her some of the "best teachers and mentors" she's ever had.
"I learned I was a very versatile dancer during my years at Purchase," she said. "That's when I knew I wanted to pursue performing as a career. All the workshops we had from other companies and also being surrounded by so many musicians, actors, and singers made me realize I also wanted to eventually step into those other fields at some point."
So far, so good.In "Hamilton," which she's a member of the ensemble, she dances, acts and sings. In certain parts, she is the image of Alexander Hamilton's mother.
Vazquez said she got the job after singing for the music director. "I wasn't able to make the dance call but I had worked on another project with the choreographer and team and they said I didn't need to worry about that which was very crazy because I thought I'd miss my opportunity." She said she thought without being seen, she'd be forgotten.
Instead, she got the call on a Thursday and started rehearsal on the following Monday and did double duty as she was still committed to "On Your Feet."
"It was a crazy month but all worth it!" she said.
Her official "Hamilton" performance, despite starting rehearsals August 1, was Saturday, Sept. 10.
She is, however, not the only SUNY Purchase alum on Broadway. The list includes:
- "Cats:" Claire Camp ’11 (dance)
- "Fiddler on the Roof:" Michael C. Bernardi ’12 (acting), Jonathan Windham ’11 (dance) and Zach McNally ’12 (dance)
- "Cirque du Soleil Paramour:" Justin Prescott ’11 (dance) and Katrina Cunningham ’11 (dance)
- Off Broadway: "Sleep No More:" Evelyn Chen ’14 (dance), Annie Rigney ’10 (dance), Sarah Stanley ’11 (dance) and Isabel Umali ’12 (dance)