Hamilton cast bonds in downtown Cleveland boxing class

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CLEVELAND- The hit Broadway musical Hamilton is wrapping up its tour in Cleveland this week. Sunday is the cast's final show and final day in the city.

But cast members say it’s the time they spent off the stage that has really defined their time in Cleveland. The cast found a home away from home at GrooveRyde, a boutique boxing, cycling and fitness studio near Playhouse Square.

Almost every day at lunchtime it’s impossible not to hear the music coming from the open garage doors at GrooveRyde.

“We’re here to make some noise. We’re here to wake up downtown Cleveland. We’re bringing energy and I think that’s what it really needs and we need the local support; we need the city’s support to keep growing it,” said Zosimo Maximo, GrooveRyde’s co-founder.

The energy, intensity and positivity at GrooveRyde immediately drew the cast of Hamilton.

“It’s right next to the theater. It’s right next to where we’re staying, so we are here every single day if we can make it, if we don’t have rehearsal,” said Tyler McKenzie. McKenzie is a member of the ensemble and has been a leader in getting the cast out and supporting local businesses.

A few times a week that means a dozen or so cast members are sweating it out at GrooveRyde. There’s no makeup, no costumes and no rhymes to memorize.

“When we have to do five shows in a weekend, you know, we get really tired but that’s just like the 35th minute of this class when you feel like you can’t go on you push yourself,” said Ta’rea Campbell who plays Angelica Schuyler.

While Campbell, McKenzie and the rest of the cast were singing about the revolution on stage, another revolution was happening at GrooveRyde.

“It’s really created a bond that we haven’t had and you know we’ve been touring for about seven, eight months now but, you know, it’s always nice to find something that’s going to push us further and bring us closer,” Campbell said.

Maximo said once word got about the New York City style class more cast members started to show up.

“They would tell us that, oh my god, the performance was so lit because of the energy and the positivity that we brought into it from class,” Maximo said.

With the help of Maximo they push each other through each jab, uppercut and squat.

“You're vulnerable, you're sweating, your endorphins after the class are so high and you just get to know people when you’re in a fitness class,” McKenzie explained. She went on to say the classes have been instrumental in making them feel at home in Cleveland and like a family.

King David Jones is a swing, which means he could be thrown into a principle role at any moment.

“It’s a lot of pressure but things like GrooveRyde make it that much easier because my body is so warm for any given circumstance at any moment. If I have to be thrown into the show I’m ready to do it,” Jones said.

As the cast wraps up their final week in Cleveland they plan to be back at GrooveRyde. When they step in front of the bag they’ll feel less like a cast and more like the family they have become.

More on Hamilton, here.

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