Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you’ve heard of Hamilton, the new musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda which had an oft-raved about run at The Public and is now on Broadway. We caught up with two of the show’s most dynamic performers, Sasha Hutchings and Sydney James Harcourt, on the eve of the show’s Broadway transfer, to talk about the show and why it’s resonating with audiences.
Hamilton had a huge run at The Public before transferring to Broadway this July. How has your experience so far been?
It’s the most original experience I’ve ever had. My first show, Memphis, had already won the Tony and been open for two years. With Motown and Rocky, both were original musicals but were stories or music we already knew. This show is a story that a lot of people don’t know, in a style that no one has seen, so being a part of the process of an original work and an original idea is amazing.
Also – it’s not very often that a show asks ensemble to be so present and to be an integral part of the story that’s being told. We really are the foundation of the show and we feel that weight and that responsibility, but we also feel that reward.
In your opinion, why is this work resonating so loudly with audiences?
It’s very rare that you honestly see colorblind casting or that you honestly see non-traditional casting. It’s time for us to let everyone tell stories and not have one look or one type be the standard for normalcy. We need to recognize people’s spirits and not their skin color. This show is a reflection of what people are asking for in life and specifically right now in the US. Being a part of work that reflects that on stage, no matter the medium, is the constant dream.
Sydney James Harcourt
What are you most looking forward to with Hamilton transferring to Broadway?
Getting to show it to a larger audience. I think it’s a show that needs to be seen by everyone, not just people who can afford a trip to New York and a high-priced ticket. Bringing it to Broadway is the next step in proliferating it out through communities and high schools and giving this gift to people. It’s going to get so many cross-sections of Americans involved in American history.
What was the most challenging part of the process putting together the production of Hamilton?
Learning the choreography. I am way more of a singer. I used to dance on Broadway but stopped 13 years ago so I came in thinking I’m in a singer track but I’m not. I’m doing it all. I’m in a room with the best dancers in the world and I’m having to keep up.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I don’t think New York is only for those who already have money or those who are only here to make money. I’m inspired by the artists who still move here to discover themselves and offer their art to people. Those who are making art just to share a part of themselves with us.