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Anthony Ramos and Christopher Jackson explain why the ‘Hamilton’ film is exactly what we need right now

Anthony Ramos and Christopher Jackson explain why the ‘Hamilton’ film is exactly what we need right now
Entertainment
The oft-repeated lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s title character throughout the epic opening number of “Hamilton” promises plenty of magic to come.

Now for fans who’ve longed to experience the ultrabuzzy, Tony-winning, constantly sold-out Broadway show for themselves, the wait is finally over.

A recorded production of the “Hamilton” stage musical featuring the original cast debuts Friday on the Disney Plus streaming service, and its stars are thrilled for people to see it.

“I hope that they’re ready,” Christopher Jackson, who portrays George Washington, told the Daily News with a laugh.

Created by Miranda, the show opened on Broadway in 2015 and centres on the life of Alexander Hamilton, with much of the story told through hip hop.

The production instantly became a smash hit, with tickets reselling for hundreds of dollars beyond face value and slews of hopeful theatregoers flocking to the daily lottery, not willing to throw away their shots to snag seats.

The upcoming “Hamilton” film was recorded in June 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan. The project, which was directed by Thomas Kail, was initially scheduled to come out in 2021, but its release was moved up by more than a year because of the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered Broadway venues indefinitely.

“I think it’s going to be special,” Anthony Ramos, who plays the dual roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton, told The News. “I saw the movie for the first time, and it was just amazing to see little nuances, little things that I just never saw in the theatre. ... You’re seeing people sweating. You’re seeing little facial expressions, reactions from certain characters that they’d have in a scene. It was just so special to be in on that and have that experience. It took the show to another level.”

Founding Fathers and other historical figures featured in “Hamilton” are portrayed by non-white actors, which Ramos believes makes an important statement. The actor, 28, finds it powerful that the film’s release comes amid the protests and calls for equality sweeping the United States and beyond.

“A thing that I’m most proud of (is) to be a part of a piece of art that said: ‘This is the way America looks now,’ “ Ramos said. “America looked one way back in the day, but this is how it looks now, and these are the people that are going to tell the story.”

Other stars of the musical include Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton and Daveed Diggs as both Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson.

Jackson, 44, considers the revolutionary message of “Hamilton” timeless.

“Much in the same way that the founding drafters of our Constitution and our government were always aspiring through words but not always through deeds, we’re in a moment of action right now,” Jackson said. “They were at the same time. They were young people doing the same things that the young people are doing now.

“The context of everything is changing, but it becomes a reflection of our greatest ideals. That’s something that folks have always responded to, but even more the contours of this moment have changed versus four years ago, when we were protesting the same things.”

“Hamilton” won 11 Tony Awards in 2016, including Best Musical, and also received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Meryl Streep, Busta Rhymes and Marc Anthony attended the show on Broadway, while President Barack Obama invited the cast to perform at the White House.

Jackson and Ramos hope the “Hamilton” film excites people to attend the musical once theatres reopen.

“I couldn’t help but feel like I was in the room with a bunch of other people,” Jackson said after seeing the film. “I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a theatre.”
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