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BWW Interview: Jasmine Cephas Jones Explains the Importance of Today's Youth Tuning in for HAMILTON on Disney+


BWW Interview: Jasmine Cephas Jones Explains the Importance of Today's Youth Tuning in for HAMILTON on Disney+ The #Hamilcountdown continues! As the world gets ready to experience the phenomenon that is Hamilton from their homes, BroadwayWorld is checking in with its stars ahead of the release on Disney+.

Not sure how to tune in on July 3rd? Let BroadwayWorld be your guide!

Today, Richard Ridge chats with one third of the Schuyler trio! Jasmine Cephas Jones made her Broadway debut playing Maria Reynolds and Peggy when the show opened in 2015. Now, she looks back on how the show has changed her life, both personally and professionally.

How excited are you that Hamilton was filmed?

I'm excited about it for a lot of things. 1. A lot of people don't get to see Broadway shows because they can't afford a ticket and this is an opportunity for everyone to have that one seat... that one really good seat in the house to finally watch the show. We are living in crazy times right now and I feel like the show gives hope and really inspires people- especially the youth. They get to see diversity on stage. If they feel like they don't have a voice, they get inspired by people getting together with their friends and starting the revolution and getting people to vote. They get to see Hamilton- an immigrant who comes to America and decides that he doesn't like what's going on and he does something about it. I think that can inspire a lot of people that no matter where you are where you come from. You have a voice and to be inspired to use it for good.

That's a great thing about great art, especially theatrical pieces too. This is historical, what Lin wrote and It's more relevant today than when it started at The Public Theater. Wouldn't you agree?

When we started at The Public, I knew that it was gonna be big... but as soon as we went to Broadway it just got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and grew and grew and grew and grew. I'll never forget when we were in rehearsal when we were transferring from The Public to Broadway. Lin changed a few things and it just got better and better and I don't know... the show it's so special it really is and I'm so glad to be a part of it.

At what point during the process did you realize how special this show was? When were you first aware of the importance of the piece?

When I first got the demos and I first heard the music I was floored! After I found out that I got the role, my first rehearsal I got all of the music and I was just shocked and I was obsessed. Even if I wasn't in the show I would be obsessed with it. It's just that type of show. It's that once-in-a-lifetime job that you get that is literally a part of history and has kind of changed the course of musical theatre.

One of the ones I can remember is the day after the album came out and everybody started to really know the words. It felt like a concert every night from then on. We were in the rap charts on Billboard! It just opened my eyes... this is not just a Broadway show, we are part of history. We have crossed over into pop culture in a way that theatre has never done before. That's when I realized this is huge.

BWW Interview: Jasmine Cephas Jones Explains the Importance of Today's Youth Tuning in for HAMILTON on Disney+

How do you feel about Hamilton streaming vs. being released in movie theatres?

The only thing I'm sad about is these times right now. I would have loved to experience seeing it for the first time with my cast members that I love so much. We've been through so much and we helped make the show. I wanted to share that in a movie theatre with these special people- that's the only thing I'm a little bummed about.

But timing is everything and there's a reason why it's coming out July 3rd. A huge election is about to happen in November and I think people need this show right now. I think it's gonna be something really inspiring and uplifting when people don't know what to do at this moment and for people who feel stuck or maybe feel like they don't have a voice. I think it's going to inspire a lot of people. Even though I'm sad about the circumstances, I'm also really excited for the inspiration that's gonna come out of this.

I love that you use the word inspire. We have so many people still in the lockdown and everybody in their home can watch Hamilton that day. Anywhere in the world they can watch this and they can be inspired like this like you said to make a change when that election happens in November...

I hope there's a shift and it can be contributed into a movement, you know? That's what this whole entire thing is about. Hamilton is about many things, but that is one key thing: to find your voice and use it and find the other people to help you raise your voice.

How has Hamilton changed your life?

Hamilton has changed my life in so many ways. I really do have a family from that show. The people that I shared that stage with every night- they mean so much to me and they're so special and so talented. I'm just a fan of every single one of them and it was an honor to share that stage with them.

I think Hamilton has made me look at myself deeper as an artist and what I'm looking for as an artist. Ever since I did Hamilton I'm really specific with the projects that I choose and the characters I choose and how they're portrayed. I was meaningful with my craft before, but I think after doing something that can change people, the direction in how I go within this business has changed too.

You have a new EP! Did Hamilton effect the creation of your new album?

It wasn't the main thing I thought of when I made that album, but definitely watching Lin doing rewrites in rehearsal and having an idea and going with it and finding his tribe and his friends help him to bring it to life... that's definitely an inspiration for this EP. You have to try things! You have to jump off the edge and run through your fear. This was my first album I ever wrote. I basically wrote it all myself. I was feeling a lot of feelings and emotions and I used my pen and I started writing about my emotions. It was a very healing process and I was able to feel what I wanted to feel through my art.

Have you seen the film yet or are you waiting for the 3rd?

No I've seen it. A lot of us have seen it!

So tell me what you thought when you watched it. Did you watch it with anybody, did you watch it by yourself?

I watched it with my fiancé Anthony [Ramos], who is also in the show. We watched it together and my jaw was on the floor the whole time. You watch something like that and all your memories just flood through your brain. The best part about it is watching different parts of the film that you weren't able to see. Like while I'm in the dressing room changing or doing this or grabbing something to eat or doing my quick change or going from stage left to stage right... there's some stuff I missed! I was able to see that and I was able to see: "Oh that's what they do in the corner!" It's just so beautiful to watch it all coming together after you've sat back from it for a couple of years.

And the other thing I thought in my mind was this cast is so talented. I'm just a fan of everybody, I really am.

If you could sum up the best part of the experience of working on Hamilton, what is it for you?

It was the people for me. It was the people. It was the support. It was the support that you got when you weren't feeling your best and being able to rely on your peers and the other players to help lift you up and get you through the show. I'd do it all over again if I could. I learned so much and the show has really made me into the artist that I am today so I'm just grateful for it. I'm grateful for the show and grateful for the people who I've met through that process.

Sign up for Disney+ today for your chance to catch Leslie and even more of the original cast of Broadway's biggest hit from home on July 3!

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