‘Hamilton’ star Phillipa Soo continues her character’s legacy by bringing the arts to kids through ‘The Eliza Project’

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Hamilton has already made a huge splash on Broadway and impacted the lives of millions.

But now, the show's leading lady is continuing her character's legacy off stage. Phillipa Soo and her castmates are using their talent to help the kids of New York City.

"A part of my journey in portraying Eliza was to do as much research as I could," Phillipa Soo said.

Phillipa Soo plays Eliza Hamilton in the award-winning Broadway sensation. Now, she's taking that role off-stage, following in the footsteps of the Founding Father's widow.

"I found out from Lin [Manuel-Miranda] that the original orphanage that she established exists today," she said.

That orphanage is now a Social Services Agency called Graham Windham, which helps families in the community.

"After visiting the campus and meeting the kids I kind of had an idea to work with them as teaching artists and live Eliza’s legacy in this theater," she smiled.

So she created 'The Eliza Project,' and is working with teenagers like Dymond, who realized a new purpose.

"They taught me different exercises in rap, singing and writing," Dymond said. "It helped me because I’m not doing no bad stuff and the time that I have nothing to do, I'm taking the time that can help me express myself,  in a creative way."

Marlange found her voice.

"I am a very shy person so I was not really into it so they were encouraging me," she said.

And Dayana discovered her inner strength.

"I learned a lot of stuff that we all grow to be someone in life," Dayana said. "When people would call me names I just walk away, before I never did that, I would get very mad  and aggressive and get into a whole big thing but now I just ignore it and walk away."

Fellow cast member Morgan Marcell has got into the act too.

"Our show talks so much about what Hamilton wrote and I think it is sort of a lost art in terms of handwriting letters ," Marcell explained. "We thought it would be a good idea to start a pen pal program, it's called 'Share Your Letters,' and the only requirement is that it’s hand written."

Both Phillipa and Morgan also learned a thing or two from the real Eliza Hamilton.

"She has taught me a lot about patience and pure kindness without any sort of expectation and about taking care of people that you love," Soo said.

"The words that she says at the end, 'can I show you what I'm proudest of' and we get to sing the orphanage, looking out at 1,300 people and say I hope that I can affect a couple of these," Marcell said. "I know I'm going to affect the kids that are at the orphanage I mean I couldn’t dream of anything better."

Phillipa hopes to hold more workshops and Morgan plans to keep the letter writing going. Of course, Hamilton is playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

 

Produced by: Rebecca Millman

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