Unforgettable Lessons We Learned During the BroadwayCon Hamilton Panel

News   Unforgettable Lessons We Learned During the BroadwayCon Hamilton Panel
 
Lin-Manuel Miranda rapped on the fly! The stars of Broadway's juggernaut assembled onstage (before hitting the stage of the Richard Rodgers for their show), and we uncovered some major insider details — and a freestyle improv rap.

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1. Chris Jackson found out about Hamilton in the middle of Heights
No audition was necessary for Jackson, who was doing In the Heights with Miranda when he was offered the gig. "I was onstage…and [Lin] said, 'I've got my next thing,'" he explained. "For real though," he replied after Miranda told him his idea for Hamilton. "We were in the middle of '96,000.'"

Christopher Jackson
Christopher Jackson Photo by Monica Simoes

2. Everyone loves a good Burr pun
Leslie Odom, Jr. was also personally approached by Miranda about the role. "I got an email from Lin about two-and-a-half years ago, I guess," he said. "The subject was 'Octoburrfest,' a delicious pun."

3. Jonathan Groff cried the first time he saw Hamilton
When Groff was asked to take over for Brian d'Arcy James as King George, he sat with Miranda in the audience at The Public and wept. Miranda remembers feeling like, "Gurl, get it together."

Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Lin-Manuel Miranda Photo by Monica Simoes

4. Lin-Manuel Miranda keeps the entire cast on their toes — all the time
At 15 minutes to curtain, Miranda can be seen trotting his iPod from dressing room to dressing room with his speakers blaring a beat challenging his castmates to cypher at his request. 5. Phillipa Soo can beatbox (and you need to be careful operating closed-captioning)
Moderator Blake Ross asked the panel (aside from Miranda, Jackson and Diggs) if they had ever rapped before Hamilton. The closed-captioning typist accidentally transcribed "have you ever raped before" — which was quickly rectified. Of course, the natural flowup was an impromptu rap from Miranda with beats by Soo:

Christopher Jackson and Phillipa Soo
Christopher Jackson and Phillipa Soo Photo by Monica Simoes

Every day at broadwaycon is a blessing

Thank God for Pippa in shocks beat boxin' lessons

What is goin' on some of y'all been here since the break o' dawn from BroadwayCon

You been rappin' slash actin'

I've been seein' the Instagram Hamilton reenactments

All day I been prayin'

I'ma see a little Eliza Schuyler cosplayin'

But here we go it's the rap

Yes, she brings it up and later I'ma give you some dap

But yo, we gotta hip hop cuz that's you and me

And when you type it on the teleprompter don't drop a "P"

6. Why Rent and Hamilton are alike for the actors
An emotional Goldsberry, who performed in Rent's closing Broadway cast, spoke to the legacy that the show left. "I think about that a lot with this because this is so much bigger than us," she said. "This is something that will live so long ahead in the future. You wonder when you're in a show about the legacy of your involvement in it. When I think about that, I remember the last night in Rent. When that original company walked onstage, that moment when they walked out there with us and we sang that song together."

"Without a question that is the show that will always have my heart," commented Odom, Jr., who made his debut in Rent. "When I got to the Nederlander – there is something that they leave behind, the original company…there is something that is in the wood…They show you how to do it, and you are quite literally walking in their footsteps."

7. Hamilton is the history lesson that keeps on giving
Even now, cast members still learn more about their real-life counterparts. Diggs had the entire crowd in stitches when he said he’d discovered Thomas Jefferson went from being obsessed with dogs and thinking everyone should have one to saying "f*ck dogs" and thinking they were the devil. 

8. Even though the battles are the same, Miranda is hopeful.
Drawing parallels to the events in the show and today’s unsettled political climate, "We've been fighting about the same stuff for 200 years," commented Miranda. While there is a lot to be upset about, he was ultimately hopeful. "There are cracks in the foundation and we're always going to be figuring that out," he said. "It weirdly gives me hope because…we started fighting about these things and we've made strides forwards and sideways and we're still talking."

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