Hamilton actress explains Eliza’s final gasp

The Hamilton movie has dropped on Disney+ and the ending of the film has got people talking.

If you’ve yet to watch Hamilton on stage or on Disney+, this post contains spoilers!

The closing song of Hamilton is ‘Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story’ which reflects on what happened following the death of Alexander Hamilton.

Much of the song focuses on Eliza (played by Phillipa Soo) who sings about her attempts to keep Hamilton’s legacy alive.

The climax of the song – and the very end of the musical – sees Eliza walk down stage before staring out into the audience and letting out a crying gasp.

There are two theories as to what the cry represents, with many taking it to be Eliza’s last breath before reuniting with Alexander and son Philip in the afterlife.

In a 2016 interview, Phillipa Soo said: “People are like, ‘Is it Eliza going into heaven? Is she seeing Alexander? Is she seeing God? What is it?’

“And it’s kind of all of those things. Sometimes, it’s literally, I look out and I see the audience, and that’s what it is, but I think, that idea of ‘transcendence’ is present in all of that whether its in Eliza’s mind or Phillipa’s mind, they’re in the same which is what’s beautiful about that moment.”

Breaking the fourth wall?

However some Hamilton fans have also interpreted the gasp at the end to be Eliza breaking the fourth wall and seeing the audience in the theatre watching Hamilton’s story be told.

One fan wrote on Reddit: “I feel like it fits with what’s happening in the song and right before she gasps Hamilton grabs her by the hand and it looks like he is ushering her to the front of the stage to show her to look out and see all the people that are there to hear her story.”

Another added: “Eliza spent more than half of her life working to ensure that the late Alexander’s legacy would survive time and that HIS story would be told. I like to think in that last moment of the show she is seeing a huge audience over 200 years later packed into a theater to hear his story and is overwhelmed with emotion.”

Hamilton is streaming now on Disney+.

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About the author: Rachel Wise

UK based freelancer journalist Rachel contributes regularly to Stageberry with features and interviews from the hottest new shows and stage stars.


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