Arizona State University alumnus and Tempe, Arizona, native Patrick Fanning will return home to ASU Gammage as music director and conductor for a national tour of the world-renowned musical and Broadway hit “Hamilton.”
With a Bachelor of Music degree in collaborative piano from the School of Music, Dance, and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Fanning will enter the doors of ASU Gammage for the first time since his graduation in 2008.
“It’s a little surreal,” Fanning said when discussing his career and life on tour.
Since middle school, Fanning knew he wanted to pursue a career in music. And he said his time at ASU helped to refine his natural abilities.
“I got a really good education here,” Fanning said. “I had very good teachers in the School of Music, and I developed a strong technique in my piano playing through my private studies. The academic rigor of the music helped me in ways that I didn’t realize at the time would be super beneficial.”
Fanning's education and experiences aided him as he dove into the role of music director and conductor for a touring cast of "Hamilton," just three months prior to the start of the pandemic.
“I’ve been with the company ('Hamilton') since September 2018, but in an associate conductor role. That really prepared me for the nuts-and-bolts part of this job, but being a leader is a little different” Fanning said.
"Hamilton" is a one-of-a-kind musical, not only because of the show’s immense popularity, but also due to its unique style of music with a mixture of rap and powerful ballads.
“As conductors and pianists on the show, we have to be able to rap, sing and play the entire thing ourselves; that's very different from anything I have ever done,” Fanning said.
But unfortunately, just as Fanning began to conquer these new responsibilities, COVID-19 brought the world of theater to a sudden halt.
Although it was tough to be away from the stage, Fanning says that the production has made performing again a smooth and enjoyable experience.
“The producers and the company have taken a lot of time to make sure that we are being integrated back into the world of professional life,” Fanning said. “They are very attentive to our needs both physically and mentally.”
With their safety and well-being looked after, Fanning and the rest of the "Hamilton" cast are ready to breathe life back into the ASU Gammage stage.
While the world is very different since the last time Fanning performed at Gammage, he wants ASU students to know that a successful future awaits them.
“Put yourself out there, don’t take yourself too seriously, be kind to other people and take every opportunity you can to grow,” Fanning said.
"Hamilton" returns to ASU Gammage Sept. 8–Oct. 10. For tickets, go to asugammage.com.