The Stars of Hamilton
Eleven Tony awards, more than $162 million in grosses, and international acclaim have put these American actors firmly on the map. Now they’re starting their next revolutions, leading the charge on stage and screens big and small — work!
Leslie Odom Jr.
ROLE IN HAMILTON: Aaron Burr
NEXT UP: Murder on the Orient Express
Where does one go after playing the showstopping, duel-winning Aaron Burr, sir? Across the pond. Seven months after exiting Hamilton, the Tony award winner is now in London, shooting a role in a new film take on Murder on the Orient Express (out Nov. 22), costarring Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, and Josh Gad. “[Director Kenneth Branagh] runs the set kind of like we’re a little theater troupe,” Odom says. “I really went from one pinch-me experience to the next.” Post-Hamilton life has seen the release of a second album (a Christmas set, which followed a June collection of standards) and a series of concerts, with an even more anticipated project ahead: Odom, 35, and his wife, actress Nicolette Robinson, are expecting their first child this spring. And though he’s no longer playing Burr, the role has left an indelible impression. “The experience of doing that show, with those people, and the way we connected with the audience,” says the actor, trailing off. “If nothing like that ever happens again, it’ll be enough.”
ROLE IN HAMILTON: George Washington
NEXT UP: Continuing on Bull
There’s no rest for former presidents. Even before exiting the musical in November (how apropos!), the man who played George Washington was already on TV and in movie theaters, if only via his voice in the latter case. Jackson, 41, was the singing voice of the title character’s father in Disney’s hit Moana — working again with Lin-Manuel Miranda, after Hamilton and In the Heights. “That’s like the crown jewel of the most incredible year I’ve ever had,” he says. “The fact that one of my boys is an Oscar-nominated songwriter and I got to sing in the movie… I’m gonna have to work really, really hard to top that.” Jackson also juggled his Broadway schedule simultaneously with shoots for CBS’ legal drama Bull (here, with costar Michael Weatherly), on which he swapped Washington’s uniform for the fashion-forward duds of his stylist character, Chunk Palmer. And though Hamilton now features a new administration, this modern major general still hears theater’s siren call, admitting, “I miss being on stage, to be sure.”
Renee Elise Goldsberry
ROLE IN HAMILTON: Angelica Schuyler
NEXT UP: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Altered Carbon
Spirited, strong-willed Angelica is the one who says she’ll tell Thomas Jefferson to “include women in the sequel” — and the woman who won a Tony award for playing her is continuing that sentiment post-Hamilton. After departing the show in September, Goldsberry, 46, took on another real-life figure, playing the title character in the HBO movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (April 22). “I found myself playing another extremely important woman in history that nobody really knew about,” she says. “Henrietta was not a very wealthy woman like Angelica Schuyler, but her legacy is undeniable.” The actress’ league of extraordinary ladies continues with Netflix’s upcoming sci-fi series Altered Carbon, on which she plays a revolutionary in a futuristic world. But when it comes to expressing all her gratitude for her time in the Broadway juggernaut, the actress will never be satisfied. “Sometimes you have to move on from something to really be able to unpack it all,” says Goldsberry. “I know that I’ll spend the rest of my life processing it and finding new things to be grateful for.”
ROLE IN HAMILTON: Eliza Hamilton
NEXT UP: Amélie, a New Musical
Does any character in Hamilton suffer as much as Eliza? Every night, in the role she originated, Soo had to learn about her husband Alexander’s scandalous affair, endure her teenage son’s death from a duel, and then watch Alexander succumb to the same fate. “The amount of energy I had to spend living in Eliza’s world really weighed on me after a while,” Soo admits. The portrayal earned her a Tony nod, but when she left the show in July, Soo, 26, was happy to move on to something sunnier: the lead in the new Broadway musical based on the 2001 film Amélie. Beginning previews March 9 (and costarring Adam Chanler-Berat, here), the show follows a shy but mischievous waitress who strives to improve others’ lives through small kindnesses. “It’s just light, lovely, and joyful,” Soo says. “I don’t have to sob at the end of the show — and I don’t have to wear a corset!” Even more appealing? The chance to develop another musical from its nascent stage. Says Soo, “After two years running in a show, it’s nice to be back in the creative process again.”
ROLE IN HAMILTON: Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson
NEXT UP: Continuing on Black-ish, plus Wonder and Tour de Pharmacy
After playing both friend and foil to Alexander Hamilton — as the French-accented, fast-rapping Marquis de Lafayette in Act 1, then a swaggering Thomas Jefferson in Act 2 — it was perhaps destined that Diggs, 35, would follow that onstage multitasking with several overlapping projects. The Tony winner is returning for more of ABC’s Black-ish after first appearing on the show as a guest star last fall, and he’ll also be seen alongside Julia Roberts in the feature film Wonder (out Nov. 17) and with Andy Samberg in the upcoming HBO sports-doping mockumentary Tour de Pharmacy. “Working on that set was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced,” he says of his time on Tour. “They never [stopped rolling], and any idea that was funny was fair game.” Diggs is also delving into work behind the camera, executive-producing a pilot for ABC about a rapper-turned-mayor. To him, it’s akin to his music-making process — where every influence on his life could be a source of inspiration — and he says he enjoys learning the ropes. “Producing has been yet another crash course. I feel like my whole life’s been like, ‘S—, I’ve never done that before’ — and then pretending that I know what I’m doing. This is another one of those things.” As he and other Hamilton alums pursue opportunities outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the bonds between those cast members have endured. “Everybody in that cast is a pretty close friend of mine now,” says Diggs. “I think those relationships are probably the most important thing that I took with me. That’s the real joy of this thing.”
ROLE IN HAMILTON: Alexander Hamilton
NEXT UP: Mary Poppins Returns
“I’m out of Hamilton things to give you,” the show’s 37-year-old creator joked to EW after December’s release of The Hamilton Mixtape — and between playing a dancing lamplighter in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, adapting fantasy trilogy The Kingkiller Chronicle for film and TV, and performing his nominated Moana song at the Oscars, he’s too busy to be lying.