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How “Hamilton” star Renee Elise Goldsberry nailed “Satisfied”

“Rewind, rewind, rewind,” the ensemble interrupts. The candles warp, the tables turn, the dancers seem to go backwards. Didn’t we just see these movements in the previous song “Helpless”, about how Eliza Schuyler fell in love with Alexander Hamilton?

Yes you did. And now you look at it again – this time from her older sister, Angelica Schuyler’s perspective.

“Satisfied” is an extraordinary “Hamilton” moment, cinematic in its performance and performance. With a series of short but potent scenes, the flashback reveals that Angelica also fell hard for Hamilton.

But the cameras zooming in on their tangible chemistry have also captured the enchanted face of Eliza. And after some internal concern about family duty and societal expectations, Angelica chooses to break her own heart and present Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) to her sister (Phillipa Soo).

The 5½ minute song is visually, lyrically and technically intricate, with Renée Elise Goldsberry in its literal center. The actress, who won the Tony Award for this performance, was part of the original off-Broadway and Broadway casts ̵

1; who now get to see their work preserved onscreen in a movie version that is now streaming on Disney +.

“There was always so much pressure and anxiety until it was over,” Goldsberry recalls of her show stopping moments. “Nothing more powerful than live theater, but what is beautiful about being on film is that you can take the time to really see how many levels of stories are going on.”

Before the release of the “Hamilton” movie, Goldsberry got a nice detail about nailing the number, unpacking its stock and watching itself perform it for the first time.

“Satisfied” is complex in the techniques it demands from its artist. How did you learn it?

It was part of the audition, like I wasn’t even going to, actually. The line they put out for people to come in was kind of Nicki Minaj, and I just didn’t think anyone would hire me to be so amazing. I would basically say no to myself and not go, but the night before the audition, I listened to the demon of the song, and I was, “Oh, my god, I have to know what he’s saying so, so quickly; I have to go home and have this song on my lips. “

So, how I learn lines is an understanding of the thought process; That’s why I’m good at playing a lawyer who says rational arguments and bad at playing a doctor who says all this medical jargon I don’t understand. I did the old thing I used to do when I was little, where I kept flushing over and over to learn a lick. And then, by God’s grace, I suddenly got it.

I went into that audition and I did it once. After a couple of questions, [director] Tommy [Kail] a glass of water slid to me before I did it again. Then they gave me the amazing beast of a song, and I had the amazing but very scary responsibility to be worthy of it. I still struggle with it. Lin told me on the phone the other day, they were more protective of that song than anything else. Even though I watch it on film, I’m still, “Am I worth this wonderful moment?”

What is the most difficult component of performing this song?

There are things that are technically challenging with that number: on top of the words is the movement and the fact that we do the previous number inverted all the time. It was a lot to juggle, but it was never difficult, it was all intellectual. Even the rap was relatively easy. The most challenging part to sing is the last toast.

It is surprising. Why?

This is an extremely well written song. Each word is designed to analytically take this woman on an emotional, life-changing decision for these three lives. That decision was such a monumentally painful and beautiful thing to do when I came to the moment she makes that decision, I was so devastated that it was hard to sing the toast. She is in conflict because she clearly wants to stay in this guy, she recognizes his brilliance, but she gets that Eliza is it. So I imagine this woman has to give this toast to this community, despite the pain she felt.

I was always worried that somehow I wouldn’t be able to live up to the brilliance at the end of that song, because I was emotionally just trying to deal with it. It took me maybe until Broadway felt ok with it.

Elise Goldsberry, center, portrays Angelica Schuyler along with Phillipa Soo, left, and Jasmine Cephas Jones.

Renée Elise Goldsberry, center, portrays Angelica Schuyler along with Phillipa Soo, left, and Jasmine Cephas Jones.

(Joan Marcus)

How did you eventually do it?

I got to understand the love triangle, whose focus is not Alexander Hamilton – it’s Eliza. The song values ​​sisterhood over romantic love. That beauty would sway me at the end of the song to make that choice every night, not because this character was so big and wonderful that she could choose it, but because she knew it was what Eliza – who is goodness and strength – would do in this situation.

I heard someone say once that the first act is the act that the younger ones understand, because it is the courage of the revolution and you know everyone in love! And the second act is the act that the elderly understand, with all the losses and struggles that are not in the field but in the mind and in these political games.

I totally agree with that, except for this moment of “Satisfaction.” It is in the first act, but it is this woman who, within a song, must fall in love and give up another, more important love. She makes these mature, wise choices without the benefit of life. My hope is that the people who watch this movie will recognize that generosity as they let go and how much it is to win by loving the hardest ways.

What came to mind when I watched “Satisfied” in the movie?

When I saw it from the audience’s point of view for the first time, I realized that there was a whole ‘told level of stories going on, separate from me. I mean Howell Binkley’s lighting design!

And Andy Blankenbuehler’s brilliant choreography, which I could always only see in my peripheral vision. There is a huge number with the whole company on stage just killing it and basically turning back time with their bodies, and I stand in the middle talking like a deer in the spotlight to the audience about a burst of things I have to fight with immediate. I am very grateful that he made my job much easier.

Renée Elise Goldsberry won a Tony Award for her performance in

Renée Elise Goldsberry won a Tony Award for her performance in “Hamilton.”

(Theo Wargo / Getty Images)

Was it a movement difficult to master?

Chris Jackson [who plays George Washington] and me, we have some [dance move] like we do, but I don’t look at him. It happens during “Helpless” first, and then when we do it again, I rap and look at the audience. So I had to trust that he would not step on my dress!

The whole company is trying to take care of me because of the really fast rap. Someone has to turn me over, someone has to remove the glass, all this has to happen but at the same time it’s like, “Leave Renée in peace because she has to do the rap!” It was always fun when something went wrong at that moment because people would feel so bad.

This song is long and lyrically dense. Any tips for those at home trying to conquer it?

The trick for every quick rap is to highlight when to breathe, and then when you do, just remind yourself, “I have to stop and breathe here, and then I’m fine. That’s as long as I have to go before I breathe again , so if I don’t stop here and breathe, I won’t do it. “

Because sometimes you don’t just breathe because of what happened before; sometimes you need a breath to get it as you continue, sometimes you breathe for how far you have to go, how far ahead it still exists. I think it is also the larger life lesson: recognize when you need to stop and breathe.

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