Saturday, January 20, 2018
Stage

Look for St. Petersburg's Ephraim Sykes in 'Hamilton' during Sunday's Tony Awards

Regardless of who wins what, the 70th annual Tony Awards will likely be memorable due to Hamilton. The show has already garnered a record 16 nominations.

For the Rev. Manuel Sykes, Sunday's awards show is especially thrilling. His son, Ephraim Sykes, will be dancing in the ensemble during the show. Sykes also plays George Eacker, who shoots Hamilton's son Philip in the Broadway show.

Ephraim, 30, grew up in St. Petersburg, where his father is pastor of Bethel Community Baptist Church. He played baseball and attended Perkins Elementary, John Hopkins Middle School and Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School.

Hamilton is his fourth Broadway production. He received Astaire Award nominations for outstanding male dancer in a Broadway show for Memphis and Newsies and as part of the Hamilton ensemble. Sykes also danced in the ensemble of Motown: The Musical and served as understudy to the part of Gator.

He has danced in two prior Tony shows, his father said, but this performance carries a bigger weight for his son.

"He knew this thing was a game changer from the beginning. That's what makes it special."

Ephraim Sykes is not the only family member with major league talent. His younger sister, Martina Sykes, makes her Broadway debut July 12 as a member of the ensemble of Motown. The show will run for 18 weeks at the Nederlander Theatre.

The Rev. Sykes saw Hamilton last year at the Public Theatre before it moved to Broadway. "I've never seen anything like it," he said. "I just really felt like the story was very well told, and at the same time is entertaining."

He hasn't seen the show since it landed on Broadway.

But on Sunday, he said, "I'll be glued to the TV."

 
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