The original company of “Hamilton” was touched by the impact their live stage recording of the 2015 Broadway musical of the same name made on the world.
In an exclusive video obtained by ET Canada, Renee Elise Goldsberry, who played Angelica Schuyler, discussed how the decision to record and stream their performance on Disney+ was very much a last minute decision.
“We had no idea when this film was going to come out when we filmed it,” she said. “We just knew that it had to be filmed. Something greater than us was at play, even for Lin Manuel-Miranda’s genius when he stumbled upon this Ron Chernow novel and transitioned it into this wonderful piece of art. The idea of this story not being known when it’s just such an American story. It’s the history of our country, and it was hidden from us. The fact that it came out when we were trying to decide what to put on the $20 bill, and we came out during the Obama Administration, and we thought it was a celebration of that time and then as the world kept turning, it felt like maybe this is actually for the world that was to come which was the Trump Administration and it’s a progressive revelation.”
“The decision was made at some point that it was going to come out in theatres in October 2021, and then we had no time at all when we said never mind and put it on Disney+ live streaming out of nowhere because the world seemed to need this now, and to have a piece of theatre that people can see from their homes when theatre is dark, and we need it so desperately, and not share it would be wrong. And then when that decision was made, we knew that it was going to be the summer of COVID, but we weren’t aware it was going to be the summer of Black Lives Matter. We continually learn what use this could be for. That’s what’s beautiful about it it and humbling about it,” Goldsberry added.
Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr, echoed his co-star’s comments, mentioning he was incredibly thankful to watch the taped performance so he could finally see what all the hype is all about.
“I’ve never been an audience member who witnessed the original company of ‘Hamilton’ until this film so this is really my only experience of seeing that original company, and I’ve heard a lot about them, and I’m just so happy it exists,” he said. “I’m so happy that it’s preserved in this way.”
“You know Howell Binkley is one of the first members of our company that we lost. We lost Howell last summer, and he was our lightning designer, and Howell’s work is preserved forever. All of us at one point or another, we’re going to be gone, but this film has a record of what we did for our kids, our kids kids, and that’s a really special thing,” Odom Jr. added.
The Broadway show is also AFI’s Movie Club selection of they day due to the cinematic staging’s ability to invite the world to “experience the multi-layered genius of this cultural juggernaut.”
“Hamilton transcends the definition of movies and television to rise up to the highest of art. This work of dazzling brilliance now exists for the ages – standing as a monument to America’s founding fathers and an anthem to the power of art to tell our stories. In a year when many were isolated at home, this lavishly cinematic staging of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical masterpiece invited the world to take a front row seat in the “room where it happens” and experience the multi-layered genius of this cultural juggernaut,” the American Film Institute said.
In another exclusive video for ET Canada, creator and star Lin Manuel-Miranda accepts the AFI Awards honor on behalf of the entire creative ensemble.
“I am honoured ‘Hamilton’ has been selected as an honouree at this year’s AFI Awards,” Manuel-Miranda said. “We are in an unprecedented time. We had planned to release ‘Hamilton’ theatrically in October of 2021, but the world turned upside down and changed our plans. I’m so thrilled that we were able to share a piece of musical theatre with the world at a time when we can’t gather together to experience live theatre. If anything, it’s this reminder of how thrilling it is to gather together in the dark and see a story being told. I’m thrilled we were able to provide that in a really hard year to the world.”
“On behalf of the entire creative ensemble, I know we are proud to be recognized by AFI,” he added.
The AFI Awards celebration is sponsored by Audi, a supporter of AFI programs for the past 17 years. To commemorate each of the AFI Awards recipients, Audi has created the AFI Awards Audi Scholarships initiative providing scholarships in the name of the honourees to women and BIPOC Fellows at the AFI Conservatory – for a total contribution of $250,000. Congratulations to Dahlia Hamdan, Producing Fellow, recipient of the AFI Awards Audi Scholarship in the name of AFI Awards Honouree “Hamilton.”