The first time Matthew Joseph heard the music from Hamilton proved life-changing.
He'd performed in school musicals, but his plan was to study math in university. When a friend insisted he listen to the groundbreaking Broadway musical's cast recording, Joseph had an epiphany.
"At that point, I made the decision that I had to pursue this," recalls the 21-year-old, now a third-year theatre student at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont.
Inspired by Ron Chernow's 2004 biography, Hamilton reimagines the tale of U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton as a mashup of hip hop, pop and R&B-influenced show tunes precisely crafted by creator Lin-Manuel Miranda — who also led the original production's cast of predominantly non-white actors portraying white historical American figures.