Shawn Hamilton didn't start out to be an actor. He studied music at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, then at the North Texas State University. Hamilton went on an acting audition on a lark.
"A buddy of mine went to audition for grad school and I just went with him, just for fun, and I got in," he says sounding surprised. "I got into Juilliard, NYU and Yale." Hamilton studied at the Yale School of Drama and began acting professionally soon after.
His credits include a national tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical and several productions in Minneapolis. Currently performing in the Main Street Theater production of A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration, Hamilton returned to Houston to be closer to his family, including his four-year-old-daughter. (Hamilton and his partner are currently shopping for an elementary school for his daughter, a task his partner has compared to getting the child into college.)
What He Does: "When I tell people I'm an actor, they say, 'Well, what else do you do?'" he laughs. "'Oh, that's nice, what's your other job? What do you do when you're not doing that?' Then I say, I don't have another job. This is all I do. People always seem surprised at that...I don't know why."
What Inspires Him: "Great work, great material inspires me. It's like being a jockey; you can only have a good ride if you have a good horse. For an actor, great roles are the great horses."
If Not This, Then What: "For actors, the most common answers are going to be either a lawyer or a doctor. Of course, what we think of as lawyers and doctors is based on what we see on TV. We have no idea what a real doctor or lawyer's life is like."
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If Not Here, Then Where: "I think I'm staying in Houston for now. I'm happy being here. Would I rather go on a tour with a musical and make three times the money I make locally but never get to see my daughter? No. I'm good right where I am these days."
What's Next: "I have two one-man shows coming up. The first one is [about Martin Luther King], the other one is Ronald McNair. Then I've got Cyrano in St. Paul. Then I come back to Stages for a show. I'm also doing voice-over for a [cereal] commercial."
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