For Broadway performers, every eight-show week is a marathon, and the wear and tear can be both painful and permanently damaging. As with so much else, prevention proves to be key in terms of a performer’s physical health, as well. Which is where people like Dr. Robert Morrison, the official chiropractor and applied kinesiologist for Hamilton, come in.
“Broadway performers are similar to athletes because they have a strong constitution and they stay in shape,” Morrison says. “When you’re dealing with people who are already in very good shape, it’s more like fine tuning their range of motions.”
The key is posture, which can tell Morrison everything he needs to know about what needs treatment. “One shoulder might be a tad bit higher, and that would give you an idea where muscles are imbalanced,” he says. “So then you go in and actually test the muscle to figure out which muscle it is, and then you stimulate the reflex points and adjust the spine. And when you do that, they stand up and you see everything’s right where it should be.”
Morrison spent 12 years living in Italy and working with football players before moving to New York City in 2014. He was treating a Broadway stage manager when he mentioned that he’d like to become more involved with the community, and she suggested that he contact Hamilton about becoming their chiropractor—something that many Broadway shows offer their employees.
But working with a personal trainer and paying attention to nutrition isn’t always enough, as Morrison points out. “We all have blind spots, and we might be eating something that we think is the right thing but it’s actually not,” he points out. “Those are the things that cause most [muscle] inhibitions.”
What Morrison does for the cast of Hamilton isn’t just for actors and dancers, though. Everyone can benefit from a better-aligned body. “The nervous system is really designed to run perfectly and anything that interferes, we need to find out what it is and remove it,” Morrison says. “You really do have to maintain your body. It’s best not to wait until something breaks down and then go in. Preventive care is really the way to go.”