How I See San Francisco: "Hamilton" Cast Member Darnell Abraham
Darnell Abraham is the principal standby for Aaron Burr, George Washington, and King George III in the current San Francisco production of "Hamilton" at the SHN Orpheum Theatre, running now through January 5, 2020. With previous credits including "Next to Normal," "I Dream," "The Color Purple," and "Ragtime," he joined "Hamilton" when the San Francisco company was formed in early 2019. A California native, Darnell shared some thoughts on the production and how he sees San Francisco with us.
This is your first run with "Hamilton" in San Francisco. What do you enjoy about performing in the city?
I am a California native, so after living in New York for almost a decade now, it’s good to be back. I love San Francisco. It’s one of my favorite cities in the country.
What’s been most enjoyable about performing in "Hamilton"?
My castmates are amazing people—not only onstage, but offstage as well. We share a family bond that is unique and uplifting. Being able to carry that bond and synergy on stage with us every night is special. It’s something I hope the audience will enjoy as well.
How do you see "Hamilton" fitting into the performing arts scene of San Francisco?
San Francisco is known for its diverse arts and cultural scene. For this reason alone, "Hamilton" feels at home here. What better way to celebrate this all-American city with a show that reflects its qualities?
What makes "Hamilton" a must-see show?
It’s unlike anything that you have ever seen on the Broadway stage. "Hamilton" not only makes history cool through hip hop, rap, R&B, and pop music, but it does so by filling the stage with actors that represent the diverse America we live in.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in the city to recommend?
This is a hard one to narrow down. I’ll give you my top two favorites: Chantal Guillon and RT Rotisserie.
If you love macarons, Chantal Guilllon does it right. It’s like the saying, "good friends are hard to find." A good macaron is hard to find, but Chantal Guillon is my new BFF!
RT Rotisserie offers a simple yet elegant menu. If you’re looking for a friendly environment with top-notch quality food without breaking the bank, this place is worth checking out. Try the roasted cauliflower and chicken sandwich. They’re for the gods!
Where do you like to relax in the city?
The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is one of my favorite places. Go when they first open, because that’s when it’s least crowded and you’re able to take in the serenity. Another favorite spot to relax is along the water’s edge near the Ferry Building, or sea lion watching at PIER 39.
When you're not on stage, where do you go in San Francisco to see a great show?
SFJAZZ is a must! They offer different styles of jazz and music. It’s definitely a gem.
Your wife has been in town with you. Have you found couples activities in San Francisco to recommend?
We have! I’d recommend the Presidio Trails. If you like a simple stroll in one of the most beautiful areas in the city, this place is the place to go. We’re also foodies, so we enjoy checking out new restaurants around town. There’s definitely no shortage of restaurants in San Francisco!
Have you taken any great trips outside the city?
What's one item still on your San Francisco bucket list?
Any last advice for visitors to San Francisco?
Don’t stay in your hotel room! Even if it’s a rainy day, there’s so much to see and do in this beautiful city.