He was cast as Phillip in the Tony-nominated Slave Play, a three-act play about race, sex, power relations, trauma, and interracial relationships. When the production moved to LA after a remount on Broadway, the theatre hosted Black Out Night, an evening reserved for an all-Black-identifying audience to experience the performance free from the white gaze. Higginbotham felt the theatre come alive.
“The audience is an important final piece of any show or project, but that night Slave Play became a whole different play,” he says. “I could feel the entire theatre breathing. It just heightened the experience and made me realize how much people can be with you when they are experiencing theatre.”
Higginbotham often thinks about the Hamiltonians who believed in him as he pursued acting: professors Mark Cryer, Craig Latrell, and the late Carole Bellini-Sharp, as well as fellow Broadway actor Brad Fleischer ’00, who helped Higginbotham resume acting after a brief hiatus. Now, in addition to his Broadway debut, he has ventured beyond the stage to earn screen time on television shows like The Blacklist and Shining Vale.
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“Hamilton got me to open up and explore more of the world and art in the world, social change, and culture ... It sparked that desire to branch out, expand, and see where I could go,” he says. “I think that curiosity was always in me, but Hamilton coaxed it out of me in a way that I’m deeply grateful for.”