The following is an excerpt from an interview with Hamilton Broadway cast member Lauren Boyd. Â In it, Lauren and I have a conversation about the spiritual nature of Hamilton, how the musical can transform our lives, and how reading my upcoming book, God and Hamilton: Spiritual Themes From the Life of Alexander Hamilton & the Broadway Musical He Inspired impacted her.
Kevin Cloud: Â So many people talk about Hamilton not only as a brilliant musical, but as a life changing experience. Â Why do you think that happens? Â Why does this musical and the story it tells resonate so deeply with audiences?
Lauren Boyd: Â Before every show Chris Jackson (George Washington, original Broadway cast) would gather up a circle of people to prayâ€¦that tradition has kept going. Â We do that to this day. Â We get in a circle and pray before every performance. Â So the presence of God is there in the theatre. Â Even if audiences donâ€™t realize it, they are coming to see a service. They are coming to church.
KC: Â This musical is much more than a play. Â It creates a spiritual experience for people. There are so many moments of transcendence in this musical. You can feel the atmosphere in the theatre change. Â Do you feel those moments on stage? Â What is it like on stage when it happens?
LB: Â Yes, you can absolutely feel it. There are definitely moments where there is an energy in the audience and on stage and you can feel something that is not tangible. Â Itâ€™s quite exciting to be a part of that and a part of this story.
KC: Are there specific moments where that happens for you? Â Where you feel a weight or presence?
LB: When Eliza forgives Hamilton. I find it sometimes difficult from a womanâ€™s standpoint forgiving Hamilton for what he did. He cheated on his wife. Â That is a very hard thing to forgive. But the way you presented it (in your book) I realized I needed to have more mercy and compassion towards Hamilton because he is a sinner like all of us. Â Your book broke down these walls I had put up toward himâ€¦I was looking at it as â€œHow dare he do that do me?”
KC: You wrote such a nice blurb for my book. You wrote: â€œGod and Hamilton turned me inside out and revealed to me a side of Hamilton that I never thought to explore.” Can you expound on that quote?
LB: Mercy is a huge thing that I learned (reading God and Hamilton). I learned that Hamilton is, in fact, a human being that lived and died and breathedâ€¦the book helped me to humanize him in a way that I didnâ€™t approach him before because I came into the show knowing Hamilton from a different angle. Â When we think about Hamilton we think about this amazing showâ€¦it is already glorified. Â You were able to demystify all of that and bring Hamilton to life. Â Thatâ€™s where I was able to have a little more mercy and kindness (towards Hamilton).
God and Hamilton Â weaves together insights from the musical itself, the lives of Alexander and Eliza Hamilton, and the story of Scripture into a tapestry that challenges people of faith to reexamine their lives.