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Jasmine Cephas Jones Is as Big a Hamilton Fan as You Are — and She Can't Wait to Watch It Again

Broadway's original Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds looks back on her experiences before the filmed version is released.

Jasmine Cephas Jones loves Hamilton. She's a little biased, of course — after all, she originated the roles of Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds. But in addition to starring in the musical, she's just a huge fan of it. She remembers watching her favorite numbers from the wings during the run at the Public Theater, something she would do with frequency when she wasn't onstage. Now that it's coming to Disney Plus, she's doubly blessed. Not only will she get to watch it again and again like she's always wanted to, but it makes her a member of the Disney family. Which one is cooler? She has yet to decide.

Jasmine Cephas Jones
(© Tricia Baron)

When did you first see Hamilton onstage?
I saw it, I think, when I left the show in New York, and then I saw it in Puerto Rico. But I remember, when we were at the Public, I would go out in the wings to watch some of my favorite numbers. I'd go out of my way to watch the show as much as I could from the side of the stage. I would watch it all the time, especially when it was new and we were constantly learning stuff and making changes. I'm in the show, but I'm also a huge fan of the show.

How has this whole experience of the filmed version been for you?
It's all like a blur. It's crazy. I've been doing interviews this week and it's been great to see the cast again. It's just ignited a lot of love and excitement. I just love those people so much. It's nice. I think the film is incredible. It's really hard to capture the essence of a show in a theater on camera, but Tommy Kail nailed it. He captured it so well. And I'm excited because the whole world gets to see it, and everybody gets to see it in the same seat. And it's a really, really good seat.

What was the experience of doing Hamilton on Broadway like for you?
It was a whirlwind of a time. We really had to give 100 eight times a week, because you never knew who was going to be in the audience. It could have been your loved ones, or it could have been someone who was extremely famous. You would find out 30 minutes before that Barack Obama was there. No big deal. That was a lot of our life, all the time. That was our regular day at work.

The film version was shot like a year after we opened. We had either just done the Tonys or were about to do the Tonys. That month was crazy. We were so plugged in. Everybody had been performing it for so long by then, so it was extremely rehearsed. People really found their moments and developed their characters deeply. I was in awe watching it. I'm blessed and honored to be a part of it and be a part of history. It's a show that has moved into pop culture in a way that no other Broadway show has before.

As someone who grew up on Disney, what does it mean to have your work part of that family now?
I haven't processed that yet. I feel like it'll process in a month, once I get over the first hump, which is "This show is actually coming out." It's not hard to swallow, but it's hard to digest at this moment. But I think it's awesome. I grew up on Disney movies. I went to Disney World last year. So to be under that umbrella somehow is the coolest thing ever.

What was your favorite moment to watch onscreen?
Oh, man. Every single number. "Yorktown" and "Washington on Your Side" I absolutely love. My own stuff, "Schuyler Sisters" and "Say No to This." I was afraid I would sound like crap. That was the first thing I worried about. But I loved seeing everybody shine in their big numbers and watch the ensemble just kill it. Honestly, I just want see it all. The whole show.

Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones, and Renée Elise Goldsberry in Hamilton
(© Joan Marcus)
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