Gasp! ‘Hamilton’ Star Phillipa Soo Just Explained Eliza’s Gasp
How can we say no to this?
Ever since “Hamilton” joined Disney Plus earlier this month, the meaning behind Eliza Hamilton’s mysterious gasp at the end of the musical has been a much-debated topic. Is she seeing the ghost of her husband, Alexander Hamilton? Could she be seeing the audience’s reaction to the show? Did she catch a glimpse of the bathroom line in the theater? (That would make anyone gasp.)
In an interview posted online Wednesday, actor Phillipa Soo, aka Eliza Hamilton herself, joined SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle Show” and explained some of the motivation behind the cryptic gasp.
Soo first wanted to hear what Cagle and his co-host, Julia Cunningham, thought of the gasp, and they each offered somewhat different takes. Cunningham believed the Eliza was breaking the fourth wall and seeing the reaction of the audience, while Cagle believed she was seeing Alexander and realizing she told his story.
And they’re both right, according to Soo.
“I would not be able to tell you precisely what I was thinking in that moment [in 2016] when that shot was taken and what exactly was going on in my brain. But I can say that it was definitely night-to-night different — but a mixture of, yes, the character of Eliza sees Hamilton or sees that legacy or sees the orphanage … or sees her kids telling her story,” Soo said. “It was an exploration for me every day, because you do a show eight times a week for a year and you find new things every single time.”
The actor added that sometimes the fourth wall would break, which Soo believes is how the show originally found that moment.
“Once we got in front of an audience, it wasn’t until then that I realized I could literally just look out and see all of these beautiful faces and acknowledge the story that we had just all taken a ride to witness,” she said.
Soo called it a culmination of all of the ideas, and she also got more specific about the gasp in the Disney Plus version.
“I can imagine in my mind, because we shot the film a couple of weeks before I had left the show, that a lot of that that you’re seeing is not only that show or that performance, but it’s that year and that moment in time and the hope and the potential that lived in that moment when we were all in that room and seeing that show and being a part of it,” Soo said.
The actor previously opened up about the gasp to Build Series in 2015, saying that the moment didn’t always exist, and though it can mean many things, there’s a constant theme of transcendence.
“I think that idea of transcendence is present in all of that, whether it’s in Eliza’s mind or in Phillipa’s mind, they’re both one in the same,” the actor said.
So there’s the answer. No need to wait for it, wait for it, wait for it any longer.
Watch the SiriusXM interview below:
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