Emmy Raver-Lampman is gearing up for the big debut of Umbrella Academy Season 2 on Netflix, but before making her way over to the streaming service, she racked up quite the list of stage credits. During an upcoming edition of Collider Ladies Night, she spoke about making her Broadway debut in Hair and going on tour with Jekyll & Hyde and Wicked, but a good chunk of our conversation about her stage achievements had to be about being part of the original cast of Hamilton.
After a mighty quick audition process, Raver-Lampman was cast as part of the ensemble where she got the opportunity to work alongside a slew of powerhouses including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry and more. When asked which member of the Hamilton cast wowed her with their work on stage and off, Raver-Lampman brought up a number of names including Odom Jr.:
“I think Leslie Odom Jr., the stillness that he brought to Burr and the profound depth that he brought to that role, and watching him do that every night. And every night it was fully committed no matter what was going on, and he was so present. He was just such a voice for this family of actors. He put himself on the front lines for some stuff and to fight for us and for things that we needed and I adore him for that because he didn’t have to do that.”
When asked what Odom Jr. did while putting himself on the front lines, Raver-Lampman explained that the production was in a “cart getting in front of the horse” kind of situation where things were way more challenging than originally expected:
“The show was so much harder than all of us thought and took so much more physically from us than we thought. And time-wise. And I am in no way complaining by any means, but it’s like, ‘Yes, we went to The White House and got to meet the Obama’s and perform for them,’ which still is one of the best days of my life. I have goosebumps on my legs every time I think about it. I will never forget that for the rest of my life. But what happened for that to happen was that we had a full eight show week, we traveled on a Sunday night to The White House – Mondays are the day off on Broadway – and then we were at The White House and performed at The White House and we’re doing things and activities and performances at The White House all day Monday. We left The White House at 10pm, got on the bus, drove through the night back to New York and went straight back into another eight show a week. So it was like, we didn’t have a day off! But also, you’re giving out so much energy on your day off because you’re meeting the freaking Obama’s! [Laughs] You know what I mean? It was in moments like that that I think just needing physical therapy and needing to be taken care of physically to continue to do this thing that we all wanted to do and all believed in and worked really hard for, but it’s taxing.”
And that was just one example. The Hamilton cast committed to special events and performances frequently, and that’s on top of the already challenging eight-show week:
“It takes a toll because our bodies are our livelihood physically, especially for Broadway actors. Eight shows a week is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. Broadway performers are athletes. They are warriors. They are obviously artists, but it takes so much for an audience member to sit in a seat and watch a show as if it’s happening for the first time. It takes a lot. It takes a lot. And I think it’s just Hamilton was asking for a lot and then more because of the Grammys and because of the Tonys and because of all of the politicians that were coming and because of all the special performances that were happening. There was so many performances happening not just on the stage at 8pm at night. There was so much other stuff going on – recording the album. On our day off, we’re going into the studio and singing through the show over and over and over and over and over again and then going to do the show at night, you know what I mean?”
So how exactly did Odom Jr. step up to support the cast? Raver-Lampman explained:
“It takes a lot to be a Broadway performer and it’s not for the faint of heart. And I think it was a show that demanded more of its actors and more of its performers. And so I think Leslie was the first person to go to bat to ask for that from our producers and from the creatives of like, ‘Hey, we love doing the show, but we need your help in supporting us so that we can take care of ourselves to do this show that we love and do it well and do it on the level that the show deserves and the level that we want to do it at and the level that is a performance that is healthy for us so that people aren’t getting injured,’ because people were getting injured a lot. It’s a hard, hard show. It looks like it is a walk in the park and that is exactly why they’re athletes and exactly why they’re professionals and exactly why they are the stars that they are. But believe me, there is nothing easy about being in the ensemble of Hamilton. [Laughs] There is nothing easy about it.”
Looking for even more from Raver-Lampman on Hamilton and her experience working on Netflix’s Umbrella Academy? We’ll have the full conversation coming your way this weekend, just in time for the big debut of Season 2!