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190729 July 29, 2019


Meeting Michael Luwoye
Tommy Towery
LHS '64
    Last Saturday and Sunday I spent 13 hours each day playing the part of a lawyer in the new NBC series "Bluff City Law." Well, I played a lawyer, but was actually just Background Talent and all I did was sit in the background and had no lines to speak - not even one. I still made $185 for the day thanks to the overtime pay. But I found something interesting while I was working on the set. I was looking up the cast of characters for the show to see who all was in it and I was shocked to see that one of the characters was born in Huntsville. Digging a little deeper, I found out he was also a 2009 graduate of Lee High School and a 2013 graduate of the University of Alabama.

    There is one standing rule for those of us who are hired as "background talent" and that is "Never Approach the Actors" or you will get fired. Well, that may be a rule, but I broke it when I saw Michael eating lunch on Sunday. I went up and told him I knew I was not supposed to talk to him but I wanted him to know I was in the first graduating class of Lee. His reaction was unexpected. His eyes lit up and he said "I want a picture with you!" So we stood there and he took a picture of him and me and had me write down my name and I did the same.My photo did not come out all that good, but it was good enough to prove I was with him. I made some great "Daddy" points with my daughter living in California who loved Hamilton enough to drive from San Diego to Los Angeles to see it. Especially when she got out her Playbill for the show and found out he was playing Hamilton the day she saw it.

    For those (like me) who did not know it, here is a little information on him.

    Michael Luwoye (LOU-Y-A) was born in Huntsville, Alabama, the youngest of four children born to immigrants from Nigeria who settled in Alabama in the 1980s. His mother was an engineer, and his father became the owner of a wholesale ice cream distribution business.

    An artistic child, Luwoye drew and wrote journals, and learned to play guitar.He learned music theory and composition while attending Lee High School in Huntsville.

    He became interested in theatre during his junior year at the University of Alabama.While in college, he played Queequeg in Moby Dick, the title role in Othello, Hud in Hair, and Joe in Show Boat.

    Luwoye received his B.A. from the University of Alabama in 2013, and moved to New York in September that year.

    In 2016, Luwoye auditioned for the role of Hercules Mulligan in the Broadway production of Hamilton, but unexpectedly was offered the title role. He began rehearsals June 14, 2016, and took over on August 2, 2016 as the alternate to Javier Muñoz for the role of Alexander Hamilton, following Lin-Manuel Miranda's departure from the show. Luwoye became the first black actor to take on the role of Hamilton.

    He was also the understudy for the role of Aaron Burr, which he first performed two months later, on October 4, 2016. On November 16, 2016, Luwoye notably played Hamilton at a matinee and Burr in the evening on the same day.

    Luwoye was given the title role in Hamilton's national touring company, beginning in March 2017 with a 21-week engagement in San Francisco, followed by 21 weeks in Los Angeles, concluding at the Pantages Theatre on December 30, 2017. 

    Luwoye returned to Broadway in the title role of Hamilton on January 16, 2018. His last performance was February 17, 2019.

    He now working on the new series "Bluff City Law" which will premier on NBC in September, playing the part of Anthony Little.

        Memphis, TN -  As I said in the story above, I have been quite busy this last week. I spent three days as background talent on the new Hallmark Christmas at Graceland II and two days working on the set of Bluff City Law. That's the first five day work week I have had since I retired in 2008. I worked overtime on four of the five days. I got home at 1:30 am Saturday morning and got three hours sleep before I had to get up to be on set at Bluff City Law at 5:30 am for what turned out to be a 15-hour day. I was called on Thursday and asked to show back up for Bluff City Law on Saturday, the 27th. I cannot say anything about what we were doing on the set or post any photos of the sets, but I can say fake snow does not keep you cool in Memphis in July, especially when you are wearing a down coat, a hat, and a fuzzy scarf.

    This week we welcome Judy Hubbard to our mailing list notifications. She is looking for names of our deceased classmates. For those who do not know, there is a section in the left page menu for our "Hallway of Memories" listing those we have lost. It is up to date for 2018, but I have not added the ones we lost in 2019 yet.

Name That Tune

Name That Tune

    Jeffrey Fussell, LHS '66, "Good one last week.  I blanked on that one. This week is different.  The iconic “Da-Dum-Dum” of the intro gives this away as the Temptations signature hit, “My Girl”. Back in the day, every garage band tried to play “My Girl”. The basic chord progression gives a false impression of simplicity. Any campfire guitarist can strum it, but the nuanced delivery required to actually perform it is not for beginners.  Even the very talented Rolling Stones offered a cringe-worthy version."

    John Drummond, LHS '65, "These are the opening notes to "My Girl,"  which could also be subtitled "The Auburn National Anthem" during the 1960s.  It was a favorite slow-dance and/or sing-along hit at parties for many years;  "My Girl"  remains popular among our generation even now."

    "My Girl" is a soul music song recorded by the Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) record label. Written and produced by the Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, the song became the Temptations' first U.S. number-one single, and is today their signature song. Robinson's inspiration for writing this song was his wife, Miracles member Claudette Rogers Robinson. The song was included on the Temptations 1965 album The Temptations Sing Smokey. In 2018, it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant.

    "My Girl" climbed to the top of the U.S. pop charts after its Christmas time 1964 release, making it the Temptations' first number-one hit. 

Other Correct Namers (More or Less) Were:

Sarajane Steigerwald Tarter

Judy Fedrowisch Kincaid

Charlie Thompson

Linda Isbell Creek

My Girl

This Week's Song

Name That Tune 2

Point you mouse on the picture above and click on the little round arrow at the bottom left to replay!


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Memory Lane

W.Dale Meyer

Would have been LHS '66

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane with the space race. It was an exciting time to live in the Space Capital. You reminded me that somewhere in my basement is a signed Holiday Inn, Cocca Beach post card from Wally Schirra, one of the original seven astronauts and only astronaut to fly in three NASA programs, Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. A naval aviator, Captain Schirra died at age 84 in 2005.

    My father was a technical writer with the Army Missile Command and was sent to Cocca Beach to meet with the original astronauts. Dad told Capain Schirra that I was a big fan of the science fiction”Men into Space” TV program. The autographed post card is “To Dale from one who has not yet seen a man in space. “

     I need to get to my basement as I think that card probably deserves a more deserving place than a “Whitman's Sampler” box of childhood memorabilia. 

Again Tommy, thanks for all you do.

Subject:    Plymouth Rock Traditional Site
Joel Weinbaum
LHS '64

    Plymouth Rock is the traditional site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. The Pilgrims did not refer to Plymouth Rock in any of their writings; the first known written reference to the rock dates to 1715 when it was described in the town boundary records as "a great rock." The first documented claim that Plymouth Rock was the landing place of the Pilgrims was made by Elder Thomas Faunce in 1741, 121 years after the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth. From that time to the present, Plymouth Rock has occupied a prominent spot in American tradition and has been interpreted by later generations as a symbol of both the virtues and the flaws of the first English people who colonized New England. In 1774, the rock broke in half during an attempt to haul it to Town Square in Plymouth. The top portion sat in Town Square, was moved to Pilgrim Hall Museum in 1834, and was returned to its original site on the shore of Plymouth Harbor in 1880. Today it is ensconced beneath a granite canopy designed by McKim, Mead & White.

    Been there.



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