After “Hamilton” came to Disney Plus, viewers immediately took to Twitter to share their new observations and theories, and one of the most popular was the meaning behind Eliza Hamilton’s gasp in the final scene. Some people thought her gasp was her final breath before dying, and others theorized it was her breaking the fourth wall and realizing there was an audience listening to her story.
In a new interview on SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle Show” on Wednesday, actor Phillipa Soo shed some light on what that emotional moment symbolizes.
She told Cagle and co-host Julia Cunningham that the meaning of her gasp often changed with each performance. Sometimes she found herself imagining Eliza’s children sharing her story and preserving their family’s legacy. Other times, the gasp represented her reuniting with her husband Alexander Hamilton in the afterlife.
“Night to night it was different. But yes, the character of Eliza sees Hamilton or sees that legacy or sees that orphanage,” she said. “It was an exploration for me every day because you do a show eight times a week for a year and you find new things every single time.”
She added that the theory about Eliza breaking the fourth wall was accurate, and she would “look out and see all these beautiful faces and acknowledge that story we had all taken a ride to witness.”
“Hamilton” made its streaming debut on July 3, quickly boosting downloads for the Disney Plus app by 74% compared to June‘s average weekend numbers. The movie version of the Broadway play generated heavy traffic, giving fans a look at the original cast of Soo, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry and more.
The show and its accompanying soundtrack won 11 Tonys and a Grammy, but while it could still be nominated for a 2021 Emmy in the outstanding variety special (pre-recorded) category, its status as a stage production renders it ineligible for the Oscars.