Hamilton and Me by Giles Terera
Who doesn’t want to be in the room where it happens? Anyone who has seen Hamilton, whether onstage or via the recording of the Broadway production on Disney Plus, can’t fail to have wondered what it was like to be part of a show that is as much a movement as a mere musical. A production promoting conversation about race, about immigration and about one’s place in the wider world. Heady subjects given the political turmoil of recent years!
Thankfully Giles Terera, the electrifying Burr in the original London cast, is an avid journal keeper and has tidied his thoughts into a fascinating book that is released this week. Hamilton and Me is an intriguing look at the process from first discovering the show (via the cast recording) through auditions and all the way to opening night.
On the way we learn a lot about Giles’ upbringing and the way he channels this into his role. Other cast members weave in and out of the narrative, most notably his onstage rival Jamael Westman whose mentions give us insight into how close actors become when working on a production as well as how the young Westman could project the maturity of Hamilton. Another regular is Jason Pennycooke the West End veteran coming across as a big brother figure for the rest of the cast.
Terera is open about his fears once he has auditioned and is left waiting to know more, shedding light on the relationship between himself and his agent. He also guides us through his own creative process of researching and trying to understand the path of the person he is portraying.
There’s nothing here to dislike, but for me I would have enjoyed ore insight into how Giles evolved his performance and understanding through his run in the role… but maybe that is being saved for a book of its own!
In many ways this is a natural companion piece to Nick Hern Books’ popular series of Year of… titles by Antony Sher and if you enjoyed those there will be plenty to appreciate here too.
You can find out more or order copies at https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/hamilton-and-me