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'Hamilton' Holds Open Auditions For NY, National Shows

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Broadway blockbuster "Hamilton" is holding open auditions Tuesday for singers who rap.

The show is looking for replacements for the New York production and upcoming national tours.

Performers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds are welcome.

Moe than 1,000 lined up out outside the Chelsea Studios at 151 W. 26th St., where the auditions were being held, and waited for hours for their chance to tryout for the hit show. People started waiting during early-morning hours, in the rain and cold all for a chance to make their dreams come true.

"It would be the thing I wanted since I was seven years old," Jaela Cheeks, of Mount Vernon, told CBS2's Raegan Medgie.

Amber Hooper of Baltimore told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall that she was nervous, but happy with her performance.

"The staff was there pumping you up," Hooper said.

An earlier casting notice had specifically sought "non-white" performers, but that was changed after a protest from the Actors' Equity, the union representing Broadway performers.

Directors are looking for non-white performers who can rap, but are encouraging performers of all ethnic racial backgrounds to try out.

"I think the outrage is so weird because the white role, it's existed you know, when the role is specifically for white people, there's so many of them," said Andre Knight of Yonkers.

"I think that's so important it gives opportunities to actors who might not otherwise have an opportunity," Cheeks said.

More On The 2016 Tony Awards

The audition comes hours after the hip-hop-flavored musical grabbed a record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations.

Earlier this month, creator Lin-Manuel Miranda won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The musical biography about the first U.S. treasury secretary has also won a Grammy, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant.

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