Hamilton. It’s become synonymous with Phenomenon. The rap musical by In The Heights creator/star Lin-Manuel Miranda has capsized Broadway and long ago burst onto the national scene. Since beginning previews in July 2015, the piece has snowballed in mainstream media, gaining traction with each accolade and achievement—a Grammy and Pulizter Prize among them. But before Hamilton was the hottest ticket in town or on the page of virtually every magazine, it was another little-show-that-could. The Tony nominees from the cast of Hamilton share with us their memories that will stay with them forever—no matter how big the show gets.
Jonathan Groff, King George III
You know what actually is my biggest memory that, like, got me really emotional when I left the show was: I knew Pippa [Soo] before [Hamilton]. So, before I watched the show, I went down into the dressing room and was talking with Pippa, and Anthony Ramos came in to the dressing room and he, like, came over to me and was like—you know Anthony—he was like, “What’s up, my brother?” He came over and hugged me so tight, and I immediately felt a part of the group from his embrace. And that’s my first real memory of the group.
Leslie Odom, Jr., Aaron Burr
Well, seeing it. I’ll never forget what it was like to see it. I saw the very first reading of it at Vassar as an audience member, so, I know how it affected me. And so, I can always... Whenever I’m tired or, you know, achy, the body has sort of given out, I can remember what that was like, and I can imagine there’s somebody that’s out there that, you know, I can sort of imagine myself in the back row of the theatre and kind of do it for that person that’s seeing it for the first time and experiencing it for the first time because there’s nothing like that. Nothing like that.
Daveed Diggs, Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson
Seeing Chris Jackson sing as George Washington for the first time. Game changer. Totally changed everything I thought about American history.
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Angelica Schuyler
We did a workshop in 2014 that I was a part of that was really really beautiful and really special. ... I remember the very first time we read through the piece, just sitting in chairs, and how exciting and thrilling it was to be on that ride even before we had all those other design elements that are so effective in the show. In its purest form it was always so beautiful.
Chris Jackson, George Washington
My first memory is really being onstage in In The Heights and hearing—and having Lin tell me he’s got his next thing, while we’re doing his show. Every memory, every good memory rolls into one. It’s not one single... it’s just a collection of greatest moments of my life.
Phillipa Soo, Eliza Schuyler
Well, the day that the President of the United States invited us to come to the White House was a very significant day for me. I will never forget watching Chris Jackson sing “One Last Time” in front of a portrait of George Washington in front of the sitting President and the First Lady. A beautiful moment.