Ari Afsar & Joseph Morales: “Hamilton Chicago Company” | Talks at Google

guys so much for being here. ARI AFSAR: Thanks for having us. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
This is Ari and Joseph. Please welcome them with
a warm Chicago welcome. [APPLAUSE] ARI AFSAR: I get chills
even still watching it. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
know, it’s amazing. And Emily’s intro
was so fantastic. I’m not going to do the
traditional ‘tell me about yourself, tell me about
how you got here.’ I want to do a little different
spin on the opening question, if you guys don’t mind. JOSEPH MORALES: Sure. ARI AFSAR: Cool. KELLIE FITZGERALD: So in our
opening song of “Hamilton,” we learn about
everything that happened Alexander Hamilton leading
up to his arrival to America. If you were to have
an opening song that told us about everything
that it took for you to arrive at “Hamilton”– ARI AFSAR: That’s a
really hard question. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
–what would be included? JOSEPH MORALES: Like a
song that already exists? KELLIE FITZGERALD: No, no. What would be included in your– ARI AFSAR: You have
to start rapping now. JOSEPH MORALES: [CLEARS THROAT] Oh, man. ARI AFSAR: You go. KELLIE FITZGERALD: We just want
to know what you did before you got here, to this moment? JOSEPH MORALES: Sure. So my dad was in the military. And we moved around a bunch. And I was never the
kid that was wanting to be in the spotlight–
didn’t sing ever, didn’t dance. My sister was a dancer but– I would go watch her
classes, but never really had a desire to do it. When we started moving around,
it was really hard for me and I didn’t know
how to meet people. I was super introverted. I decided to audition for
my sixth grade choir show. They were doing
“The Jungle Book.” I was like, well, I can
meet people super fast. I’ll just try it. And that’s literally
how it started. I mean, it was just
because I was just so thankful to have
friends that were like me. I mean, I just stuck with it. And then, when I
graduated in high school, and it was time to decide what
college I was going to go, to or what I wanted to do,
and it was like, well, I might as well just
keep doing this. And that’s, really,
how it fell into it. I mean, I didn’t want
to do this at all. Never– not that I
didn’t want to do it, it just wasn’t on my radar. ARI AFSAR: Yeah. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah. And then, what kind of
roles or monumental things happened along the
way, before “Hamilton”? JOSEPH MORALES: So,
I did a lot of– I did a lot of cool
projects, but the thing that really, kind of, started things
was doing Lin’s first show, “In the Heights.” I did the first national tour. I played Usnavi. And that’s how I kind of
got to know Lin and Tommy Kail, our director,
and Alex, who were the same exact
team as “Hamilton”– Andy, who choreographed
“In the Heights.” So that’s kind of what
opened a lot of the doors. I mean, before that,
it was a hustle. I mean, I did a
lot of cool things. I did like the original
cast of “Rock of Ages,” and “Bombay Dreams.” ARI AFSAR: You were
in the original? JOSEPH MORALES: Mm-hmm, in LA. ARI AFSAR: I didn’t know that. JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. KELLIE FITZGERALD: You
guys are learning– ARI AFSAR: Learning. [LAUGHTER] JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, but really, I
mean Lin changed my life– absolutely, 100%. Yeah. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Mm. That’s awesome. How about you, Ari? What’s your opening song? JOSEPH MORALES:
[HUMS “ALEXANDER HAMILTON”] ARI AFSAR: How does a– [LAUGHTER] I don’t know how– So I come from– I think part of the huge
thing is my parents, where they come from. My dad is an immigrant
from Bangladesh and my mom grew up
in “the slums”– that’s not a right
word– but of San Jose. And then they created
this life for me that is– was incredible. And so I look a lot
to be my parents– I’m an only child. I see the struggles
that they had. And they really
instilled in me that you must be able to love what
you do, every single day. So my dad grew up
from Bangladesh, was the first of his country– first of his family to come
over to the United States, came for the school visa,
got his master’s and became an engineer. My mom went back to
get her law degree when she was 40 years
old, because that’s something she had always
been passionate about. And so my mom is an attorney,
my dad’s an engineer, and they birthed this kid who
is like, (SING-SONG) music! And they’re like, what
do we do with this? And so actually one of
the biggest things for me is they instilled in me
that I must love what I do, but I also came from a very
South Asian household, where I didn’t really do
theater in school. I was academics, all the way. I was a biology major
at UCLA for two years before I switched and realized
what I really wanted to do. And so that was also a
real struggle for me, is believing in myself, because
I like the stability that comes with being a bio major. There is no stability
in that unless you’re going to be a doctor,
and that’s seven years, and who wants to do that? So I think that was like
a huge struggle for me, is finally, really
believing in myself. And so this was kind of– I put it out into the
universe the last year, that I was going to
be pursuing this, because I was a voice teacher. I taught coding to
under-resourced kids. I was doing many different types
of jobs and I was sick of it. And then I made a very
whimsical decision to go to New York for a few
months during this year, because I was like, well,
this is the last year before I get a full-time job. And this was the
full-time job I got. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
That’s amazing. ARI AFSAR: So, yeah. And then, like,
milestones in it– I was on “American
Idol” when I was 16, which was the best and
worst experience of my life. One thing that I did
really gain from that was getting a thick skin. I cried on national television
and they replayed it, and I still wanted to
do music after that. I’m like, OK, that means
that I really want this. I got two years of
college paid for at UCLA by being top ten
at Miss America. When I was– after
freshman year of college– so they were some huge
things that I accomplished, which is awesome, but my
biggest goal was to have a job, to make money off of
doing what I wanted, and be, like, comfortable. And so at age 25,
this is the first time that I got that,
which is awesome. I mean, like, yeah, what’s
bigger than “Hamilton”? Like, so– KELLIE FITZGERALD: And the role
you play in “Hamilton,” too. Would you guys tell everybody
about who you play in the show? JOSEPH MORALES: I play Hamilton. I wasn’t this guy. I’m the alternate. So I play Hamilton on Sundays. So there’s two of us. There’s Miguel
Cervantes, and then I play Hamilton on Sundays. ARI AFSAR: And I play
Eliza Schuyler, who then becomes Eliza Hamilton. And I think– [LAUGHTER] JOSEPH MORALES:
Tickled– tickled. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
That’s really delightful. ARI AFSAR: Well, I– that’s hilarious. It’s also– it’s just so funny,
because no one knows Eliza. JOSEPH MORALES:
Well, now they do. ARI AFSAR: I mean,
before the show. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Now they do. ARI AFSAR: No, now they
do, yeah, yeah. yeah. But like, also, you need to see
the show to know who she is. And so I think that’s also the
biggest things– when they’re like, oh, who do you play? And I’m like, oh,
Eliza Schuyler. And they’re like– Hamilton’s wife. And they’re like,
oh, now we know. But I think that was the
coolest thing, too, is I joke and I say that I needed to have
booked the show in order to see the show. Because I– in my audition
with Tommy Kail, he’s like, have you seen the show? And I’m like, no dude. I’ve been trying every single
day to get a lotto ticket. It’s not going to happen. And so then, I finally
booked it and then I finally saw the show. But it was weird, because the
first time I saw the show, I knew I was going
to be playing Eliza. And I saw Phillipa
Soo, who’s incredible, but more so than just the
performer– the character. She is a badass shero,
especially of the 18th century. And so being able to see
that was really intimidating, but also like,
such an honor to– Lin, from the very
beginning, knew that he wanted to end the
show with Eliza, and– spoiler alert. And I think that is just the
coolest thing, because they’re shedding light on women. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah. I actually have a
question I was going to wait until much later to
ask, but that’s a perfect segue. ARI AFSAR: Women empowerment
always will come up– KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah. We– well, we– Emily and I, actually,
have had conversations about the lyrics of
the show, as fans do. And one thing that
we talked about was the fact that when
you meet Angelica, she says, “I’m the
oldest and the wittiest and the gossip of
New York City-iest.” And it would have
been such a lob to say she was the prettiest. It fits right in. But, like, Lin made
a conscious decision to focus on the
minds, the ambition, and the accomplishment
of the women in the show. And so I was going to ask you– ARI AFSAR: [INAUDIBLE] KELLIE FITZGERALD: –how did
you prepare for this character differently? Or how did you think
about the impact that this character would
have on women and girls and boys and men who
would see the show? ARI AFSAR: I mean,
it’s history– that’s the coolest part. This is not fictitious. He’s pulling from real life. And the fact that we are
shedding light on real women– JOSEPH MORALES:
Making them human. ARI AFSAR: Yeah. JOSEPH MORALES:
[INAUDIBLE] really cool. ARI AFSAR: Of these– these women were– are
here now and were there in the 18th century. So I think that that’s cool
is, we’re always powerful. But it’s whether or not the
world is going to see that. And so we’re still 76
cents to the dollar? So we’re still going to
be fighting and pushing in order to make sure
that we are above equal in order to get
that equilibrium. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Mm-hmm. It’s a very powerful
portrayal of women, and done in a way that
stories about that time, of our country,
doesn’t typically highlight. ARI AFSAR: Exactly. KELLIE FITZGERALD: So, OK, a
more lighthearted question. We’ll start with you, Joseph. If could play any other
character in the show, who would you pick? ARI AFSAR: Is it male or female? KELLIE FITZGERALD:
It can be either. JOSEPH MORALES: Hmm. ARI AFSAR: Have you
not thought about this? JOSEPH MORALES: I’m pretty busy. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Has no one
ever– no one’s ever asked you this question before? JOSEPH MORALES: I would love to
take a crack at Burr, for sure. And my original offer
was actually to do both, but they ended up
needing a king, more. So I actually do cover the king. I went on for the
first time last week. ARI AFSAR: (DEEP
VOICE) Incredible. JOSEPH MORALES: Oh. Talk about facing
your fears, you guys. [LAUGHTER] But Burr– now that I’m
settled into Hamilton, I feel like Burr would be a
really fun character to play. I mean, he’s so– they’re both a part
of me, I think. Sometimes I’m a Hamilton,
sometimes I’m a Burr. I think that’s why people
relate to the show. I think sometimes you’re like,
oh, I’m the “Wait For It.” And other times, you’re like,
screw that, I’m going for it. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah. JOSEPH MORALES: It’d be
exciting to play both. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
That’s interesting. We had a conversation
about this, because I left the show so
fired up, and being like, I need to be more like Hamilton. And then I talked to
somebody, and he said, well, I left the show being like, if
everybody were like Hamilton, this world would be a disaster. We need Burrs. Burrs are dependable. Is there a character you like– ARI AFSAR: Well, I was
going to say Burr, too. But now it’s not as
cool of an answer. So, I mean, he– I think the best song
is “Wait For It.” I love “Wait For It.” And I love just being
in the surround, and being a part of that magic. Yeah. That’s my answer. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Do you– so you kind of answered this
question already, Joseph. But Ari, do you relate to one of
the characters more personally? Like, are you more
Can I answer that? [LAUGHTER] ARI AFSAR: On me? JOSEPH MORALES: No, yeah. ARI AFSAR: I want to hear. JOSEPH MORALES: You’re
definitely a Hamilton. ARI AFSAR: I think–
yeah, I think– JOSEPH MORALES: 100%. ARI AFSAR: But I
think I’m an Eliza. JOSEPH MORALES: Sure. ARI AFSAR: Let’s
talk about the women. I’m just kidding. KELLIE FITZGERALD: I would
love– especially, the impact of the original cast and
the original cast album, like, a lot of people walk
into the show knowing the tone and how things are
saying and portrayed. I’d love to hear how
you guys have each made the characters your own. And Ari, honestly,
one of the things I noticed when I saw
the Chicago production is when you sing Burr–
or when you sing “Burn,” you are pissed. And I like that. ARI AFSAR: Yeah. KELLIE FITZGERALD: And I think
Phillipa was a little more hurt in her portrayal in “Burn.” And I liked the way– I think you kind of
made that your own. So are there any
other conscious ways you guys have made the
characters your own? JOSEPH MORALES: Well, I think
it came from the creative team. The creative team, from the
very beginning, was like, we’re not hiring you to be
a replication of anyone. If I ever tried to be
Lin-Manuel, I would fail. I mean, he’s– I
mean, he’s amazing. He’s his own thing. So I think they were
very clear that they wanted us to bring whatever
colors we had into the roles. And we were just talking to
John Gilmore, our press agent, who was just in San
Francisco, and he saw their new production. He was just talking about
how it’s the same show, but so different. Nobody’s trying to try to
duplicate anything, which I think is really special. I just think through the
process, it was just– in rehearsals, it was just
how can we make this– ARI AFSAR: We don’t even
have the opportunity to duplicate it. You know what I mean? We saw it one time with
the OBC, and sat a few– there’s no real way for
us to even try to do that. And beyond us being ourselves
and being cast to be ourselves, every show is different. So one time I can do
something with Joseph, and that fuels me to be
really upset during “Burn.” Or sometimes I’ll be bawling
during “It’s Quiet Uptown.” or I’ll be really pissed
off and there’s anger– so, it’s like, every day. And what happens during
our life, like, effects it. JOSEPH MORALES: And it’s super
cool to work on a show where it’s– Lin has just put it all there. We just have to
open our mouths– the material works. I think they did a good job
of casting the right essence and whatever the character
needs, but the words– I mean, the work is all done. It’s like the hardest and
easiest job I’ve ever done. Because physically,
it’s exhausting, but it’s all there
for you, every night. KELLIE FITZGERALD: That’s
interesting you brought up physically– it’s exhausting. We’re big fans of fun facts here
at Google, if you can’t tell. And somebody also from Chicago– Nate Silvers, he did this
really interesting analysis of the show. And so he did an
analysis and found that “Hamilton”
has 20,520 words, and averages 144
words per minute. But here’s the fun fact– it clocks twice as
many words per minute as its closest competitor,
which is “Spring Awakening.” ARI AFSAR: Oh. I didn’t know that. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
So I would– yeah. I would love to hear what
it takes to train for it? Like, how do you train for that? And then also, how do
you build the endurance to do it so many nights a
week, so many days a week? JOSEPH MORALES: How
did I train for it? It’s repetition and
having the passion to work hard enough for it, I think. I wanted this so bad. The job before this, I was
on a show called “If/Then.” I was on the tour
and I was a swing. And I had a lot
of time offstage. And so I started
auditioning for “Hamilton.” And I just started using my time
offstage to learn the material. And then once I
booked “Hamilton,” I had three months of “If/Then”
before I started at “Hamilton.” And every day, I would
just spend those two hours that I was at the theater just– I would write all my
lyrics down seven times. I don’t know why I do that,
but it’s from my whole life. That’s how I memorize. I write everything
down seven times. ARI AFSAR: It’s not
eight or or six? JOSEPH MORALES: Seven–
I read somewhere that if you write
something down seven times, it’s in your memory somewhere. And so I don’t know if
it’s true, but it works. And so I have
notebooks of just– I’ve written everything in
“Hamilton” down, seven times. And that’s how– I get so
comfortable with the material that I can– so that I can get free with it. That’s kind of my process. I’m not really technical. I didn’t go to
school for acting. I’ve always just kind of
done what feels right. But for me, to
get to that place, I need to know it so well that
I can just let everything go. So that’s kind of my process. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
How about you, Ari? ARI AFSAR: I don’t
rap in the show, so I have a very different
experience with the material. I think it’s very– I don’t know how to
answer this question. How to– preparing for it. I mean, I think the main thing
is kind of– we already touched about it a little bit. I was really intimidated
by the character, and like, continuing to
portray such a legend, and also introducing
this individual. So studying the book, knowing
the Ron Chernow book– no, I think most people came
in off-book when we started the first day of rehearsal. So really make sure it was in
your blood and in your body. You don’t You don’t time
to think about the lyrics. ARI AFSAR: No. So you’re just working
when you’re in rehearsal. JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. KELLIE FITZGERALD: So since
you’ve written down everything from the show
seven times, what’s your favorite lyric in the show? JOSEPH MORALES: It changes. There are things that I– I think one of my favorite
raps is the “We Know,” when they confront him, and– it’s just so fast, so
intricate, and just kind of spills out of your mouth. But it changes, like, sometimes
I’m really into “Hurricane,” sometimes– I mean, always “Yorktown.” “Yorktown” is always super fun. There’s so many great songs. It’s really hard to answer. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
You talked about being kind of in the scene. Is there a favorite
scene of yours in the show, whether it’s
your scene or one that you’re in the choreography of? ARI AFSAR: I love watching
“Room Where it Happens.” Because that, to me, is
the transformation of Burr, and then we get
to be a part of it and comment on it in our own
way, as Eliza, or as whomever you’re playing. So that’s really cool is
to be behind the scenes, but continuing to
be in character. Something that I am
a part of physically, downstairs, I love
“That Would Be Enough,” because every day
it changes in terms of the development of
our love for each other, or not love for each other. Every day it changes. KELLIE FITZGERALD: So I think
about these characters– it’s hard not to
think about the show in today’s political climate. ARI AFSAR: Mm, of course. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
And if you guys were to be your character in
today’s political climate– Hamilton, Eliza– how do
you think they would behave? What would their
involvement be if you were to put them in today’s world? ARI AFSAR: Well, I’m really
inspired by this show. And I think the
only way that I know to deal with what the hell is
going on is to work towards it. And I think that Chicago– we’ve had the
luxury to figure out what our voices
are as individuals inspired by our characters. And Chicago is so
receptive of it. So just earlier this week,
me and Miguel’s wife, Kelly Cervantes, produced
a benefit concert donating to the ACLU with members of
“Hamilton,” with a member– with the lead of “Aladdin,”
and with local artists– Malcolm Woods– Malcolm
London and Jamila Woods, which was incredible. And we ended up raising– I don’t know the final number
yet, so I can’t say it. But bringing art,
individuals of art– we had artists like JC Rivera,
who had a gallery donating. All these local
Chicagoans coming together to fight for one cause was
breathtaking and remarkable, and something I will
remember the rest of my life. So I think that’s
the coolest part, is being able to do the show and
continuing that type of legacy outside of the show. JOSEPH MORALES: I think
Hamilton would be horrified about this political climate. I’m not sure he does fit in. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
I was thinking about Hamilton and Twitter– what that would be like,
because he just ran his mouth. And then he would be able
to publicly run his mouth. JOSEPH MORALES:
Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know how things
would pan out for him– ARI AFSAR: I think
it’d be a bad thing. JOSEPH MORALES: –in this world. Yeah. ARI AFSAR: Well, some people
are successful with [INAUDIBLE]. KELLIE FITZGERALD: So
what about if you could– what about if you
guys could sit down to dinner with your character? What would you like
to ask them about, that maybe could help you– you have a curiosity about
as you’re portraying them? What would they think or do? What would you ask them about? JOSEPH MORALES: I’m really– I think why I love playing
Hamilton so much is just his quiet confidence. I mean, not so quiet all the
time, but just the confidence. Never questioning himself–
for better or for worse– he hurts a lot of people and
in the process of it all, but just that confidence. The ability to just speak his
mind and not apologize for it. I want to know where he
gets that from, and just the energy, the nonstop energy. Which is the same thing that
really fascinates me about Lin. I mean, I think that’s why
Lin really, really connected with Hamilton’s stories. I think they share a
lot of the same DNA. And that’s something I don’t
naturally connect with, but it’s thrilling to pretend. Yeah, so that would
be my conversation. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Mm-hmm. How about you, Ari? ARI AFSAR: Questioning
everything that happened to her and continuing to
find the strength to continue his legacy– I’m not sure I would have
been able to do that. And I think that,
especially during that time, women had to deal
with a lot of stuff– negative stuff,
thrown their way. And so how she continued
to take the high road and realize the importance of
his story, and of their story. And also, I think
then, beyond realize– I think, my– actually,
in the question, what’s your favorite line in
the show, is she says, will they tell our story? And then at the very end
is will they tell my story? And I make sure to like
exaggerate the ‘my’ so people hear how she has really
transitioned and changed, because I think that’s the
final turn turning point, and then the show is over. So trying to figure out
where she found the strength to be able to realize that
all the differences they had, the story was bigger
than both of them. KELLIE FITZGERALD: And the
power of forgiveness, like– JOSEPH MORALES: Sure. ARI AFSAR: Yeah. I couldn’t– KELLIE FITZGERALD:
Just unbelievable. JOSEPH MORALES: I lied, I
do have a favorite line. It’s when Burr says at
the end of the show, after he kills
Hamilton– spoiler alert. ARI AFSAR: Well, that’s history. JOSEPH MORALES: I
was too blind to see the world was wide enough
for both Hamilton and me. And I think that’s the
foundation of the show, that’s– no matter what you believe
in, the world is wide enough. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Mm-hmm. And that’s a great
moment for now. A reminder for now, as well. JOSEPH MORALES: Exactly. I think that’s why people
really resonate with story at this particular time. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
I want to give folks a chance to line up
and ask some questions. We will have a few minutes
for audience questions. And if that clock is right,
we have like, 12 minutes for audience questions. And let me see what else
I have here, for you guys. Do you guys know– so you were
there during tech in Chicago. The theater’s a lot bigger
here than it is in New York. What adjustments did they make
to the like, actual production to accommodate the larger
audience size, the larger stage? JOSEPH MORALES: We
didn’t do anything. ARI AFSAR: We actually had
a small– we have a smaller stage than Broadway. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Oh,
you have a smaller stage, but a bigger theatre? JOSEPH MORALES: It’s just high– the way the Private
Bank is, it’s higher. There were more tiers, so
really everyone’s as close up, but you’re just high– ARI AFSAR: Yeah, you’re looking
up to the final– it’s crazy. So you don’t look
up to the last row. JOSEPH MORALES: So more seats,
but just as intimate I think. ARI AFSAR: Yeah. But I mean, yeah. A little bit of staging
differences because the stage is a little bit smaller. So our numbers are a little
bit different than Broadway. But nothing– JOSEPH MORALES: You’re
going to get the same show. They didn’t really
change anything. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah. Awesome. Go ahead. AUDIENCE: Hi. So I mean, I think,
to some extent, “Hamilton” is just
lightning in a bottle, but if you had to pick
another historical time period or historical personality
to do a similar take on, with hip-hop and modern
vision of history, what other time period or
personality would you pick? ARI AFSAR: Oh, that’s
a good question. Can we can we dial
in to Lin on this? JOSEPH MORALES: Can
we phone a friend? ARI AFSAR: Yeah. That’s what I was thinking of. JOSEPH MORALES: I don’t know. I mean, not now, I think we’d
have to wait a couple of years. But I think a musical about
Yes, for sure. For sure. JOSEPH MORALES: Lin? Lin? KELLIE FITZGERALD: We have
some questions from Googlers here, too, so. I thought I’d paid
attention in school, but I was surprised at some
of the US history tidbits throughout “Hamilton.” What was the most
interesting history fact that you guys learned? JOSEPH MORALES: I don’t remember
Hamilton in school either. And I think that’s what’s– AUDIENCE: [LAUGHS] ARI AFSAR: Most people
think he was a president. JOSEPH MORALES: I think
that’s what’s incredible also, is that it’s getting kids
interested in history. And it’s bringing
this black and white– whatever– off the
page and coloring it. And– ARI AFSAR: I remember
five years ago, people were talking about– they wanted to switch Alexander
Hamilton off the $10 bill to Harriet Tubman, right? KELLIE FITZGERALD: Mm-hmm. JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. ARI AFSAR: That’s what we– JOSEPH MORALES: And “Hamilton,”
the show, changed that. ARI AFSAR: Changed that. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yes. JOSEPH MORALES: That’s crazy. ARI AFSAR: And now,
we’re like, oh, he’s– and I think actually,
the coolest part– a little bit about
him is the fact that he accomplished
so much, but they don’t revere him as being
the best person in the world. They talk about the good,
the bad, and the ugly, and that, really,
is what happens when you’re trying to do
bigger things than yourself. That it’s not always going
to be a perfect story. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah. My husband won’t
spend $10 bills. He like, hangs on to them now. ARI AFSAR: Well,
when we sign them, I’m like, but isn’t
that defacing money? Are you sure you want
to sign your $10 bill? KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah. He saved the $10– the show saved Hamilton
on the $10 bill. ARI AFSAR: That’s cool. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Go ahead. We have a couple more
audience questions. AUDIENCE: Hi. Tell us a little bit
about your experiences on Wednesday afternoons
with “Hamilton” EduHam. JOSEPH MORALES: Oh man. So we do– it’s
called EduHam and they work with Title I schools. In Chicago alone, 20,000
kids– sophomores– in Chicago, will see the show for $10 each– ARI AFSAR: A year. JOSEPH MORALES: A year. And every company does it. So it’ll be 20,000 in New
York, 20,000 in San Francisco. They’ll do it on tour, as well. The kids study
Hamilton for like, three months before
seeing the show. They put together
their performances to do for us in the morning,
and then that afternoon, we perform the show for them. And it’s 2,000 of these
excited, incredible kids. I mean, the future, who
would never otherwise be able to see the show. It’s– ARI AFSAR: And that’s
what’s important. I mean, the show’s
really expensive to see. [LAUGHTER] JOSEPH MORALES:
They’re like, yeah. KELLIE FITZGERALD: People
are sort of like, uh-huh. ARI AFSAR: It’s really expensive
and difficult to get a ticket, like I’ve experienced, as well. So I think that those
are the people that need to be seeing the show. And I’m really grateful that we
have the opportunity, because of the people that are
also sitting right here. JOSEPH MORALES: And it’s
something our producers really, really care about. I mean, it was all
they’re doing, so. And we also have the lottery,
which they’ve doubled. I mean, we do– I think we have– ARI AFSAR: 40. JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. AUDIENCE: 44. ARI AFSAR: Four. JOSEPH MORALES: 44, which
is more than most shows, for $10 a ticket. ARI AFSAR: And you get to see
the spit off of the actors– and feel it, probably. KELLIE FITZGERALD: So that’s
actually a really great segue. We have a very
exciting announcement. Google is going to be sponsoring
yeah, it’s very exciting. I think 20– 22 CPS schools will
be in attendance on that day– about
22 CPS schools. You guys already
heard, the program itself is really phenomenal. The students, right now, are
studying Alexander Hamilton and planning their performances. They’ll actually face
off in their schools and then decide who gets
to go on stage that day, which is super awesome. They’ll do a Q&A with
the cast and then they’ll get to stay that
afternoon and see the show. And the exciting part
of the announcement is that the “Hamilton” folks,
here, in the front row, have offered Googlers
the opportunity to get any no-show
tickets on that day. So if there are any
empty seats, there is a lottery that you can
enter and go/shy/Hamilton. And you will find
out that morning if you get a seat or not
in the afternoon matinee. So very special thanks to Rob
and our Community Relations Team, who’s working with the
Gilder Lehrman Foundation– thank you, I knew I was
going to mess that up– on this amazing program
and super excited to be– to be a part of it. AUDIENCE: [APPLAUSE] AUDIENCE: You guys mentioned
how the show is exhausting– a three hour show, you
perform eight times in a week. You’ve already been doing it
for months with no end in sight. How do you guys
prevent yourselves from just going
through the motions? How do you find energy in
every single performance to sustain you for the whole
entire week, month, etc.? ARI AFSAR: Coffee. So I’m going to be coming
to Google and going to– what was his name again? KELLIE FITZGERALD: Carter– ARI AFSAR: Carter– KELLIE FITZGERALD:
Connor, Connor. ARI AFSAR: Connor and get
those lattes every day. They are so good. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
They are so good. ARI AFSAR: I think one thing– in the very beginning,
it was really difficult, because this was my first
time doing eight shows a week. So that was hard to
be able to figure out what’s my vocal regimen? But I think one thing
that I’ve learned the most is because I have been
doing eight shows a week, I’m very much a
perfectionist, and every show needs to be so perfect. And that’s the
mentality that I’ve had. And I’ve had to let that go. I cracked last night. And I was telling
Joseph, two months ago, I would have come
off stage, crying. And that’s what happened the
first time that I cracked. And during “Satisfied,” I
was crying the entire time. And this time I was like,
well, that’s live theater. Got to let it go. JOSEPH MORALES: It really is. And with this show, I mean,
there’s just so many words and there’s so much
to do, you’re just– if I get through a show
without messing up, I’m like, oh, it’s coming. I don’t know when
it’s going to happen, but it’s going to happen. But it’s been the
biggest lesson. And I think that if you
asked anybody in the cast, they would tell you that just
being able to just let go and not take it so seriously. Take your job so seriously,
but just have fun with it at the same time. That’s so liberating. ARI AFSAR: It’s
more about the story than it is about vocal
perfection or lyric perfection, or any type of perfection. You want to feel the
actors being together– JOSEPH MORALES: And that’s
how I think we get through, I think is just staying
present with each other. If I don’t feel like
I have enough energy, I just like, focus into
Ari, and some I get it. ARI AFSAR: And then
I start crying, and I’m like, what
are you doing to me? The last night we performed,
I was tearing up at “That Would Be Enough.” And I had never experienced
“That Would Be Enough” that way. And that’s the
coolest opportunity, is to be able to
experience and share a different story every night. JOSEPH MORALES: And the
audience helps, too. I mean, the audience
is– you’re tired and then you get out there
and the audience is just crazy and gives you the
energy that you need, which is really great. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Oh, we
got little ones at the mic. ARI AFSAR: Hi. JOSEPH MORALES: Hi, guys. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Like,
they’re down there. AUDIENCE: Hi. My name is Hanson. ARI AFSAR: Hi Hanson. AUDIENCE: And how do you
get ready for the kiss? ARI AFSAR: Oh! KELLIE FITZGERALD:
That is amazing. ARI AFSAR: Oh my god. So, OK, I’ll tell a
really funny story. During rehearsals, I was
really nervous about the kiss, because I didn’t know
when it was going to come. When were we going
to start kissing? Because– and so I
pulled our director aside and I was like, I’m not
making a big deal about this, but when do we kiss? When is it actually
going to happen? And then Tommy,
completely embarrassed me and made a big deal about it. So– I don’t– So, just doing it, I guess. I don’t– I have a huge
The kid’s like, I don’t think I got an answer. JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. AUDIENCE: Why do you think
Alexander Hamilton was wearing his glasses
on the– duel he died? KELLIE FITZGERALD: Ooh. AUDIENCE: Ooh. JOSEPH MORALES: Why is
everyone looking at me? Why was he wearing his glasses? I don’t– for me, and this is
a conversation I’ve had with the director– did Hamilton go, knowing
that he was going to die? Did he think that
Burr would pull out? I think that he meant
serious business. But I think he was prepared for
it to go in either direction. And I mean, which is why he
wrote Eliza before leaving. And I think he hoped that it
would turn out differently, but he believed in the legacy. ARI AFSAR: So why was
he wearing his glasses? He was prepared. JOSEPH MORALES: He wanted
to– he wanted to– yeah, he was prepared. KELLIE FITZGERALD: I
think one of the best things about the
show is not only do you learn about history that
you might not have been taught in school, but you
leave with questions that you have a hunger
to explore more, and long conversations
about like, did this really
happen intentionally, was it not intentional? ARI AFSAR: And
you can Google it. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yes. Thank you. Excellent. Go ahead. AUDIENCE: One of my favorite
things about “Hamilton” as a musical is how
deep the lyrics are and how many layers they have. So they’re inspired
by so many things, they have double meanings. Do you have favorite
segments of songs or lyrics where you’ve like,
realized the deeper meaning or really love the reference
that Lin is making? ARI AFSAR: I don’t know if
it’s like, deeper meaning, but I love how many times
that things are repeated and then they have a
completely different context. So “History Has Its Eyes on
You” is in the very beginning, and then introduced in
a very different scene, and it makes you think
about it very differently. So that type of repetition
is really beautiful, because a lot of times
repetition is repetition, but it’s really just placing
it at a different location and then meaning something
completely different. And I think the
coolest thing, also, is that everybody
takes away something very different by the
exact same lyrics. So it’s your personal
experience that changes the meaning for you. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Mm-hmm. Were you guys big hip-hop
and rap fans before the show? Did the influence of that music
inspire you as you prepared? ARI AFSAR: I mean, I didn’t
know that it was the “10 Crack Commandments,” so I had
to do research on that. So in terms of knowing
all of the references, no. But I think it
inspired my musical– my Spotify playlist
is very different now. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Mm-hmm. How about you, Joseph? JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. I mean, it just gave me
a deeper appreciation for that whole world, the
freestyle world, the rap world. I didn’t necessarily listen
to it on my own, but yeah. It’s pretty incredible what
they do, and what Lin does and– ARI AFSAR: [INAUDIBLE]. JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. I mean, “Heights” was
kind of my first intro into that whole world. Yeah, it opened my eyes, because
I never really listened to it. KELLIE FITZGERALD: We were lucky
enough to have Jeremy McCarter here, who co-wrote the actual
show book with Lin, and– ARI AFSAR: Because
he’s a Chicagoan. KELLIE FITZGERALD: He is, yeah. He spoke right
before the holidays. And it was very interesting
to talk with him about how he wanted this– they
both wanted this book to be different than your
typical coffee table show book. And he didn’t realize until
sitting down with him, how deep all of the
references went. So the annotations
in that book are so fun to read on their own. And I have formed playlists,
just like you guys said. Oh, I should listen
to these songs that are just in the annotations. We probably have time
for two more questions. Go ahead. AUDIENCE: Hi. Coincidentally,
we’re actually going to go see the show tonight. JOSEPH MORALES: Oh, nice. AUDIENCE: Any advice
for a first-timer? ARI AFSAR: So are you
like a real Hamilfan? AUDIENCE: I’m about to be. [LAUGHTER] ARI AFSAR: So you
didn’t listen– you didn’t listen to anything? AUDIENCE: No. I haven’t. ARI AFSAR: That’s a choice. JOSEPH MORALES: I
think it’s cool. I think watching it, not really
knowing, just watching the show and then going
back and listening to it is the way to do it. That’s how I
discovered the show. I saw it first and then got
obsessed with the album. ARI AFSAR: It’s just– then, I would recommend
seeing it again. No, but I mean– I mean, obviously, the
tickets are really expensive. But I mean, there’s so
much information to absorb. My parents have
seen it five times. And every time that
they see it– granted, their daughter’s in the show– but like, there’s like,
different things that they pick up on because the choreography
is making a message, the lyrics are making a message,
the actors are making a– JOSEPH MORALES: There’s a
whole world going on upstairs on the second level. ARI AFSAR: And I envy– tell them what my
designated role that I have. JOSEPH MORALES: Oh, she is– ARI AFSAR: You can be
a little more excited. JOSEPH MORALES: This is
also self-appointed– ARI AFSAR: No! No, it was not. I am the surround dance captain. JOSEPH MORALES: Which means
she’s in charge of everybody else’s choreography on the
second– on the top level– “in her mind.” [LAUGHTER] ARI AFSAR: Stephanie, our
associate choreographer appointed me as that. I don’t get extra money for it. It is on my resume. So I challenge you to look up
at the surround once in a while. JOSEPH MORALES: No,
it’s pretty incredible. I get to watch the show
a lot because I’m not on all the time, and
there are still things that I’m catching up on top. I mean, it’s so
specific, so thought out. So just try to take
in what you can, and– ARI AFSAR: See it again. KELLIE FITZGERALD: And enjoy it. ARI AFSAR: Yeah. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Go ahead. AUDIENCE: First of all,
I want to thank you, Ari, for making my husband cry
three times during the show– just phenomenal. ARI AFSAR: I mean,
those lyrics are just– AUDIENCE: They’re amazing. You guys are just top-notch,
and thank you for that. And I wonder what you tell to
the children in the schools that you work with and what
you would say to my children for how to get to the
place that you’re at? Because there’s local
theater, which is great. And then there’s local
teachers, but what’s in that gap between
those who kind of stay at the local theater
and those who can get to where you are at? And what suggestions might
you give for students who really want to– ARI AFSAR: Well, I think
everybody’s experience is completely different. So my advice is to not be so
focused and narrow-minded, and put your marbles up into
a lot of different baskets, and just really love
everything that you’re doing, because you will be surprised. Before this show, I
was working on my EP– I’m a songwriter. And so that’s where my
mind was at completely. And then I just went, well, let
me just try– just being open. So being open, but also what’s
opportunity– like prepare– or what’s the statement? What’s– preparedness
and luck is opportunity? So making sure that you’re
prepared in everything that you love to do. That’s– I wish I could tell
my 13-year-old self that things are going to be OK. JOSEPH MORALES: Totally. And just to have fun and
not take it so seriously, but work hard. ARI AFSAR: Yeah. JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. I went through a
really tough period where I was just kind of empty. And somebody told
me, have fun or quit. And that really kind of
flipped a switch in me. It was like, if I
don’t love doing this, and if I’m not doing it
for the right reasons, if I’m not willing to die
trying, do something else. Yeah And I think if you have
that kind of mentality, where you’re just doing
it because you love it, and you continue the work
and you stay in class, I mean, the work never ends. You just got to be willing to– ARI AFSAR: You’re going to– yeah, and you’re going to find
what you’re passionate about. I wanted to be better
at piano, for example, but I never practiced. Whereas singing and acting,
I would be in classes or I would be picking
up extra shifts so I could pay for
my acting classes, because I just
loved it that much. And I think that’s
just really telling. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Other
audience questions? So we already talked
about this first one here. Oh, thank you. Can you scroll up just
a teeny bit, sorry? Sorry. I saw– OK, there we go. Oh just– they’re
question went away. ARI AFSAR: It looks like
it was hand-activated. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah, yeah. ARI AFSAR: Oh wow,
it’s not, but– KELLIE FITZGERALD:
Sorry, I wish– I wish you guys could see this. It would be a lot
more entertaining if you knew what we were doing. JOSEPH MORALES: Well,
I think, keep going. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
Yeah, keep going. There’s a question for Joseph. There you go. There you go. There you go. ARI AFSAR: Joseph Morales! KELLIE FITZGERALD: Who else,
Joseph– yeah, it’s yelling. It’s shouting at you. Who would be an unsung
historical figure who deserves– JOSEPH MORALES: Unsung? KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah. Yeah. Pun– I love puns and wordplay. Who deserves the “Hamilton”
treatment in history? Well, we already said, Obama. JOSEPH MORALES: I
guess, maybe Bernie. ARI AFSAR: He’s not unsung. AUDIENCE: Aww. [LAUGHTER] JOSEPH MORALES: Just me? [LAUGHTER] ARI AFSAR: Hashtag #ImWithHer. [LAUGHTER] KELLIE FITZGERALD:
We could really take this panel in a
different direction now. JOSEPH MORALES:
Yeah, I mean, I would like to see both of
those musicals, actually. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
This is my style. ARI AFSAR: I just imagined
the Bernie musical. KELLIE FITZGERALD: You
know that really famous– ARI AFSAR: Another
That famous question about who would play you in
the movie/musical of your life? Who would play Bernie in the
movie/musical of his life? ARI AFSAR: Oh, well, the
guy who played him on “SNL.” Why am I forgetting his name? AUDIENCE: Larry David. JOSEPH MORALES:
Who played Bernie? ARI AFSAR: Blah, blah, blah. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Oh,
Larry David did, actually. Everybody’s like, Larry David. ARI AFSAR: Larry David. KELLIE FITZGERALD: OK. So yeah, you guys have had
a couple of Aaron Burr’s come in and out of the show. JOSEPH MORALES: Oh, Joshua
Henry is incredible. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Yeah, Joshua. ARI AFSAR: Amazing. He’s incredible. He started the
show with us, so we were and six weeks of
rehearsal with Joshua Henry. So he feels still, like a
part of the Chicago family. But Wayne is incredible
and it’s been– and I’m a huge Wayne fan. Everybody in this
front row knows how obsessed I was with
Wayne I was before he came. And then he ended up being the
coolest and awesome person, and so talented, but also a
very different take on Burr. And so that’s why I’m
like to all my friends– you have to see the
difference, because it really– every person that
comes in to any role really changes the feel
and the mood of the show. So Daniel Breaker’s coming
in, starting next week, and I am so excited
and enthused to be able to see how the show
once again transforms. JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. KELLIE FITZGERALD: How do they
do tech in that situation. Is he already rehearsing? JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah. I’m leaving from here to
rehearsal with Daniel. ARI AFSAR: And then we all
have a put-in on Friday. KELLIE FITZGERALD: And then
he just picks up on Tuesday? JOSEPH MORALES: Yeah,
he’s been rehearsing the past month or so. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Wow. JOSEPH MORALES:
So he’s been here, but just rehearsing on his
own with our stage managers and choreographer. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
That’s fascinating. It’s almost like you’re
getting on a moving train. JOSEPH MORALES: Exactly. And then they’ll just
throw him in and we go. ARI AFSAR: It’s insane. And he’s an incredible cook. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Ooh. JOSEPH MORALES: I mean– magic. ARI AFSAR: No, no, no. Follow him on Instagram. KELLIE FITZGERALD: OK. How about one more
question from the audience? AUDIENCE: I can’t
get over there. KELLIE FITZGERALD: That’s OK. I’ll repeat it for
the live stream. AUDIENCE: OK. So I was at the
performance where Wayne did two or
three songs, and then something snapped in
his ankle or something, and he had to stop? And then the understudy came on. ARI AFSAR: How incredible
is that understudy? AUDIENCE: That’s what
I was going to ask– was it his first time
performing that, because– JOSEPH MORALES: Not first, but
he hadn’t done it many times. ARI AFSAR: Well, and also
to pick up in the– he was on for another track,
and to pick up– JOSEPH MORALES: It was seamless. Just suddenly– AUDIENCE: It was amazing. ARI AFSAR: Well, I didn’t really
know until I was on stage. [LAUGHTER] ARI AFSAR: And then I was
like– well, I mean, and that’s live theater,
though, too, right? I mean, [INAUDIBLE] happens. And so you have to be able
to be prepared and be ready all the time. And also know and be
prepared for that happening. Like even the other day,
I was going on stage and one of our swings,
Jean, came up to me. He was like, oh, I’m
on four, man six. Right before “Ten
Duel Commandments.” I’m like, oh, OK, let’s go. You just have to
be ready for that. But that means those swings– this cast is so– JOSEPH MORALES:
Everyone’s just so good. ARI AFSAR: –freaking talented. It’s insane. So I mean, that takes brain
power to be able to do that. KELLIE FITZGERALD:
It’s interesting– I think we’re
working in this time where everybody’s
attention is so divided. You’re always doing a number
of things at one time, especially in jobs
like ours, where you’re in front of a computer
or you’re in a video chat, or whatever. You guys truly have to be
present while performing. You can’t be really thinking
about or doing anything else. How did those couple of
hours compare, contrast to the rest of your day-to life? JOSEPH MORALES: Well,
it’s a blessing. ARI AFSAR: Yeah. Yeah. Actually, in preparing even
just for the ACLU event, there was a lot of
stress right before. And I was looking forward
to the three hours where I know what’s
going to happen. And I know what I have to say
and I know where I have to go, and that’s all I
have to think about. JOSEPH MORALES: You know you’re
going to get what you need. You don’t know about
that in your life, yeah. ARI AFSAR: So that
is a blessing. But for me, there are times
where I do need to check out, especially during
the second act. And I have a couple– I have kind of a big break
after “That Would Be Enough.” No, after “Room
Where it Happens,” before “One Last Time.” So I can go down
to my dressing room and I can check out a little
bit, because the next 30 minutes are just really
emotionally exhausting. And I have to be
present in that moment, even backstage, the entire time. So I need a little bit of time
on social media or whatever, in order to prepare for
that emotionally draining 30 minutes. JOSEPH MORALES: I don’t even
go back to my dressing room. ARI AFSAR: Well, he doesn’t
have enough time, yeah. JOSEPH MORALES: Once the show
starts, I don’t have a moment. When I’m not on
stage, I’m changing. So it’s like [SNAPS FINGERS]
I mean, really, just [SNAPS FINGERS] it’s over. KELLIE FITZGERALD: And what
do you guys do to recharge in between shows, on days off? JOSEPH MORALES: Well, I’ve
got my napping station. Not as glamorous as yours. ARI AFSAR: So if Google
would like to donate– JOSEPH MORALES: Mine’s a pillow
under my dressing room counter. ARI AFSAR: Rolling of the eyes. Yeah. I think that we all– I mean, we didn’t really
have a break this week. We did the ACLU event on Monday. And then we’re going to be
singing at Notre Dame in like, two weeks. So those outside experiences
is what refuels me. But then, you know what I mean,
I just got a 55-inch TV, so. KELLIE FITZGERALD: There’s
also some Netflix happening. ARI AFSAR: I mean. I am a TV junkie. I always find time. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Go ahead. This will be our last
question by the way, you guys. Sorry. AUDIENCE: So much pressure– can you speak to what
it means in history, in the sense that the cast is
made up entirely of minorities. What does that mean to you? ARI AFSAR: Yeah, absolutely. The fact that my
last name is Schuyler and that my sisters
have absolutely different ethnicities than
mine and nobody cares. And it’s accepted and
nobody questions it– that’s not present in the
entertainment world, at all. I mean, if you
look at my resume, it’s like, Rodriguez,
Gonzales, Munoz– and I am Bangladeshi. But so, that’s the first
time where it’s just– it’s a very
color-conscious casting. And every little
boy and little girl can see somebody that
looks like them on stage, and that’s the most
beautiful part of this show. Thank you for asking
that question. I can’t believe we didn’t
even bring that up, but– JOSEPH MORALES: It’s about time. Like, enough– it’s about time. KELLIE FITZGERALD: For sure. ARI AFSAR: I mean,
we didn’t– yeah. So there are roles
and stories that need to be told that need to
have specific ethnicities, that need to have
specific capacities. And no one else should
be casted, other– JOSEPH MORALES: But those aren’t
the only stories we can tell. We can tell– ARI AFSAR: No, absolutely. But I mean, yeah, but any
romance or all the rest of the things that you see
in TV and movies and films, they don’t have to be
of only one ethnicity. And I hope that this
really just translates into the rest of the
world for people like us. KELLIE FITZGERALD: Mm-hmm. Yeah. [APPLAUSE] KELLIE FITZGERALD: Well, I
think that’s a beautiful place to end. Thank you, guys, for
this magical hour. And thank you all for
your great questions. And you’ve really
just brought the show, the gift that keeps on
giving, to our office today. And I thank you
so much for that. JOSEPH MORALES: Thank
you for having us. ARI AFSAR: Thank you so much. [APPLAUSE] KELLIE FITZGERALD:
These are for you. ARI AFSAR: Oh, so sweet. JOSEPH MORALES:
Thank you so much. ARI AFSAR: Thank you.

7 thoughts on “Ari Afsar & Joseph Morales: “Hamilton Chicago Company” | Talks at Google

  1. Joseph Morales!! I get to see him this coming Sunday and I'm insanely excited!! He's got a great voice and such a likeable personality. I think he'll be a perfect Hamilton πŸ™‚

  2. We just saw Hamilton in Chicago on 9-24-17 with these two playing Hamilton and Eliza…and I cannot even put into words how ABSOLUTELY AMAZING they were in their roles!! The whole Chicago cast for our performance was PERFECT in every way!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! #HamiltonCHI
    And for the record Joseph, #Bernie was my guy too!!

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