'Hamilton' Stars Share 5 Character Tips for Future Casts

5:16 PM 7/9/2016

by Ashley Lee

Leslie Odom Jr., Renee Elise Goldsberry, Christopher Jackson, Rory O'Malley and Javier Munoz share their best advice for taking on the roles of Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit musical.

70th Annual Tony Awards Hamilton 2 H 2016
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

The Broadway phenomenon Hamilton is welcoming new actors into its lead roles, and will open new productions in Chicago (in October) and London (in 2017) — plus, a touring production with 21-week runs in both San Francisco and Los Angeles that begins in March 2017.

To help those eventually-cast actors adjust to their beloved roles, Leslie Odom Jr., Renee Elise Goldsberry, Christopher Jackson, Rory O'Malley and Javier Munoz share their top tips about taking on the characters of Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit musical.

  • Leslie Odom Jr.

    "The temptation is to be sinister and focus on being a bad guy, but the material is strong enough and the payoff is greater if you focus on love and humanity. I just don't want to see Aaron Burr's slinking around the stage to show me how bad they can be. I'd much rather see them toasting to friendship, focusing on the love for Theodosia and letting the chips fall where they may after that, because that's way more interesting to see. How their relationship dissolved — they were friends for so long. Wipe away the label of hero and villain and just be a human being up there."

  • Renee Elise Goldsberry

    "Be in the moment. Don't let your mind jump even one moment ahead. The moment you are in will get you to the next one, and then the next. That is the best way to get through a three-hour show, a two-show day, an eight-show week, a long run of Hamilton and through life itself.

    "[And] cling to your sisters. Lift them up. Lean on them. Love them. Focus on the family, and not on yourself. The most important thing about Angelica is her love for her sisters. That is her strength. That is her beauty."

  • Christopher Jackson

    "I strongly recommend starting with Mr. [Ron] Chernow's biography on Washington. It is incredible source material. Most of what we've come to know about George Washington is a mix of misinformation and myth. By peeling back the layers of his life, it's much easier to see him as the 'man' and, thus, inside our show's story."

  • Rory O'Malley

    "[When doing interviews with the press,] come up with a good answer for how you spend all your backstage down time. Shockingly, 'working on my memoirs' seems to impress folks more than 'trying to beat level 398 of Candy Crush.'"

  • Javier Munoz

    "Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Enjoy the mistakes. Laugh at them. Know they’re going to happen, and embrace them. This role moves too fast, and you’re human. Don’t beat yourself up; learn from them, let them go and move on. Keep going."

    Read more Javier Munoz Says Goodbye to Lin-Manuel Miranda: 'Hamilton' Creator, Star and "My Great Friend"