James Monroe Iglehart won the Tony in 2014 for his role as the Genie in Broadway’s Aladdin. Earlier this year, he moved on to join the cast of Hamilton, where he plays both the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, roles that earned original cast member Daveed Diggs both a Tony and a Grammy.

Iglehart spoke to The Root about how he got the breakout Aladdin role after failing horribly in an audition for Sister Act; breaking Hollywood stereotypes; and being inspired by Cab Calloway, among other performing greats.

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See the full interview above.