Everyone who saw Hamilton in person, either on Broadway or while the production toured the globe, knew about The Gasp before the musical landed on Disney+ over July 4 weekend. But for those who weren’t willing to fork over $849 for one ticket, the ending — where Eliza, played by Phillipa Soo, looks out into the audience and gasps — was a total surprise. There’s been plenty of speculation about what the ambiguous ending means, with Lin-Manuel Miranda once saying, “I think it’s different for each Eliza.”
For the Eliza in the Disney+ taping, she thinks it’s a moment of meta realization.
While appearing on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show, Soo asked co-hosts Cagle and Julia Cunningham for their interpretations of the gasp. “I thought it was a breaking of the [fourth] wall, like why the story is called Hamilton. This is the point where it’s gone and people are hearing the story, a gasp,” Cunningham responded, while Cagle added, “I felt like she was seeing [Alexander Hamilton] because we were jumping several years ahead to her death, but I think in that time she was also realizing she had told his story.”
Soo can’t recall what she thought in 2016, when the Disney+ performance was filmed, but with the benefit of hindsight, “Yes, the character of Eliza sees Hamilton or sees that legacy or sees that orphanage … or sees her kids telling her story. It was an exploration for me everyday because you do a show eight times a week for a year and you find new things every single time.” She also confirmed that the fourth-wall interpretation was accurate, as Eliza would “look out and see all these beautiful faces and acknowledge that story we had all taken a ride to witness.” That was true for every night, except for when Mike Pence watched Hamilton. Then the gasp was replaced with a “boooooooo.”
(Via the Hollywood Reporter)