The original cast of the Broadway production of Hamilton have spoken about the transformative power of the arts and the ability they have to engage with social issues.
As theatres in New York and London are dark due to the coronavirus crisis, a filmed version of the hit musical, which was recorded at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016 with the original cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Leslie Odom Jr and Renee Elise Goldsberry, is available to stream now on Disney+.
Phillipa Soo, who originated the role of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, told the PA news agency: “It feels like I always knew the show was such a beautiful gift from Lin, that we as a society can watch this show and take from it all the questions we can ask ourselves as a community, as a society, of what it means to be a human being, what it means to be an American.
“I think now more than ever we need those questions to be asked of us and not only us, to look at the very imperfect way this country was formed and know that things are messy, that’s how things get done, that’s how progress starts.
“And on top of that there is a lot to celebrate about how far we have come.”
She added: “I’m so proud of it so I hope that people watch it and are inspired to be citizens in this world.”
Anthony Ramos, who originated the dual roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton, added: “It’s a gift to do what we do, it’s a gift to be artists and it’s a gift for us to be blessed with the opportunity to make movies and write songs and put out music and make pieces of art that can inspire people in every stage of life.
“Art will do that forever and it’s a blessing to be a very small part of a community that many people turn to through movies for inspiration, many people turn to songs to music.
“They want to feel good they put on their favourite song, they are going through something, they will be put on that movie that makes them feel motivated, that makes them feel they can conquer, overcome, so I think it’s just special to be able to do that and be part of pieces of art and be a part of that music.
“People come up to you and go ‘Yo, that changed my life, that song, I was really depressed and that song gave me faith in this moment when I didn’t have any, that song made me look at myself,’ or ‘that movie or that thing, that piece of art, for whatever reason, it made me look inside myself’. It’s a blessing to do what we do.”
Jasmine Cephas Jones, who played the dual roles of Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds, continued: “I think it always end up in the arts, for some reason, because arts do something and get into your body.
“Not only does it teach you many things but it also heals you and as human beings we listen to art, we watch art in a different form and I feel it transfers into your brain differently and into a creative side.
“And this is like the perfect whirlwind of a piece of art right now in this climate, from learning history to bopping with your friends to being inspired, it’s the perfect storm at this time and no matter what time you listen, will find something that will move you and to relate to and I think that is genius of this musical.”
Hamilton is streaming on Disney+ now.