When Beyoncé went backstage after a recent performance of “Hamilton,” Philippa Soo’s Broadway career came full circle.
From driving to school listening and singing along to Destiny’s Child to Beyonce’s “Countdown” influencing Soo’s rendition of “Helpless” in the Broadway musical, Soo is a proud member of the Beyhive.
“Meeting her was so incredible because it makes you realize we’re all drawing from each other,” Soo told StyleBlazer exclusively. “We were inspired by her and it’s really cool to feel that maybe she was inspired by us.”
Soo plays Alexander Hamilton’s wife Eliza Schuyler in the nearly-three hour retelling of Hamilton’s life based on an 800-page biography, but don’t expect a boring history class. Instead, the musical, written by “In The Heights” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, is mostly rapped and set to a hip-hop beat, complete with beatboxing, bringing the story of the founding father to life. However, it is Soo’s character Eliza that steals the spotlight in “Hamilton,” and reveals just how much women in U.S. history are overlooked.
“I actually really didn’t know a lot about Eliza,” the 25-year old Julliard graduate said. “I looked her up on Wikipedia… I was so taken by her story, and my surprise at that was a quite powerful moment. I nearly, we nearly, forgot her. It’s so beautiful that she’s held in that light at the end.”
The Hamilton musical, with one of the most diverse casts on Broadway, also shines a light on major issues making headlines today, such as immigration, and has even caught the attention of President Barack Obama.
“I think this show is a great example of how theater is a great reflection of who we are as an audience, and I think it’s very much a reflection of who we are as a nation,” Soo said. “The words in ‘My Shot,’ ‘I’m young, scrappy and hungry,’ that we’re all coming from different places and experiences, and we are coming together to create something that is bigger than all of us.”
From mastering beatboxing to her style outside those corsets, Soo has a bright future on and off the stage:
On her love of musical theater: “It wasn’t until high school that I discovered musical theater. Something happened one day, and I realized that I love telling stories through song, it was the perfect combination of this love I have for theater and music.”
On her namaste approach to Broadway: “At the beginning of a yoga class you set an intention, and that is what I try to do before my shows. There’s always something new because it’s a new day, it’s a new show, you are not the same person you were yesterday. As long as I have a small intention I can set for myself for the show, it will influence what I choose to pursue that day, and keep it fresh every day.”
On beatboxing: “I was so excited about it, and when Lin was like ‘I think you should beatbox in this moment’ in the back of my mind I had been thinking that all along, but I didn’t want to impose. So I went home and went on Youtube and looked up all these amazing beatboxers. Of course, I am really far away from that kind of beatboxing, but I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I am thoroughly glad that beatboxing is now part of my daily routine.”
On her personal style: “It’s pretty eclectic. I love really interesting pieces, but also I’m really into just simplicity and functionality these days. I also like a lot of vintage pieces that were my mom’s, thrift store finds. Right now I have this yellow leather skirt and it’s fun because I can dress it up or down. That has been my main fall piece.”
On her beauty staples: “I love a red lip. I’m all about the red lip and a nice peach blush, and I love this Bare Minerals mascara that I have. It looks super natural, and it doesn’t get all clumpy.”
On acting beyond the stage: “I feel like I’m haven’t done a lot of film and television, but I would love to explore that medium. I kind of just go with my gut feeling on the work and the people I am working with. Whatever comes we’ll see, but for now I’m super satisfied where I’m at and for an actor its an amazing place to be.”
On the goal of the musical: “I just hope that you’re inspired to tell stories. If you’re a performer, that you feel that you are truly telling stories from your heart, or if you’re not a performer, to tell your story in a different way. Whatever that means to you. I’ve found that to be a such an important part of my life, to try and tell the best stories that I can and I feel that’s it’s only brought really amazing things to me, and continues to be self-rewarding.”