Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo Clarifies Eliza’s Gasp In The Disney+ Movie

Eliza in Hamilton's finale

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Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton was a pop culture sensation before it arrived on Disney+, but now the even more people can be in the room where it happens. One of the most discussed aspect of the filmed stage performance is its final moments, and Eliza Hamilton's gasp upon seeing the audience. And now Phillipa Soo herself has further clarified what went into that specific moment of her performance.

Phillipa Soo was with Hamilton during its Off-Broadway and Broadway productions, with her Tony nominated performance now captured forever thanks to the Disney+ movie. In the show's finale "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" Eliza suddenly looks out at the audience, and gasps/cries for one final emotional gut punch. There's been much discussion about this moment, and now Soo has spoken to Hamilton's ending, saying:

I would not be able to tell you what I was thinking precisely in that (2016) moment when it was shot. Night to night it was different. But yes, the character of Eliza sees Hamilton or sees that legacy or sees that orphanage ... or sees her kids telling her story. It was an exploration for me everyday because you do a show eight times a week for a year and you find new things every single time.

It looks like there isn't necessarily a concrete answer to Hamilton's ending. There's a few different factors going into Eliza's gasp, which also includes where Phillipa Soo's mind was back in 2016. Still, she does validate some of the popular theories about "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story."

Hamilton is available exclusively on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

There were two major theories about Eliza's gasp at the end of Hamilton. One was that she was reaching heaven, and finally seeing her loved ones after all those years. The second, more popular, was that Eliza was seeing Alexander's legacy finally being told, with the awareness of the audience bringing her to tears.

Later in her conversation with THR, Phillipa Soo also spoke to the importance of her own perspective on every night of Hamilton. Soo played Eliza eight nights a week during her years with the show, which is a particular challenge that theater actors face. She recently spoke to how each day changed up the show's ending, saying:

And I can imagine that since we shot the film a couple of weeks before I left the show, that a lot of that you're seeing is not only that show, but also that year and moment in time.

This is another important perspective when diving into the nitty gritty of Hamilton's final moments. Because not only was Phillipa Soo immersed into her character and feeling Eliza's emotions, but there's also what's going on in her own head. Filming Hamilton must have felt significant in the moment, therefore adding to the emotionality of the moment. After all, this is the version of the show that'll live on forever.

Since debuting on Disney+, Hamilton has been watched by a ton of people. As a result there has been a spike in downloads on the application, as well as the cast recording's performance in the Billboard charts. And with that popularity came with some debate about Hamilton's final moments.

Hamilton is currently streaming on Disney+. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.