Hamilton's, Eliza Ohman
Hamilton an American Musical.
Broadway's hit-musical, "Hamilton" has many amazingly talented actors and actresses in it's cast, as well as amazing musicians and crew members. Eliza Ohman answered some questions to give a peak into her job, and involvement with "Hamilton" the musical!
Q: How would you describe “Hamilton” to someone who has never heard of the show?
A: This is a story about 18th century America told by America now, but ultimately it’s a show about the human experience. Everything is told through song and dance, but the styles vary from traditional musical theatre to Hip-Hop/R&B. I always like to say there’s something for everyone.
Q: What do you do at “Hamilton”? What tracks do you cover?
A: I am a Swing for the Female Ensemble and Co-Dance Captain. As a swing, I’m responsible to know the music, staging, and choreography for the 5 female ensemble members. As a DC, I help run rehearsals, note the show, teach other swings/new performers the material, and assist in the auditions. I’m also assisting as we set the 2nd National Tour.
Q: What is the best part of working at “Hamilton”?
A: This is a special show. Shows like this come around once in a generation, and although I hope to be part of many other shows over the course of my career, this one will always hold a special place in my heart. There are many truly excellent things about the material, but the best part of working at Hamilton is the people. It’s my favorite part about coming to work. They’re family.
Q: How long have you worked at “Hamilton”?
A: I’ve been with the show since Aug of 2016.
Q: What was your “Hamilton” audition like? After how long did you hear back from the audition?
A: My first audition was a mixed call with men and women where we all learned a section of Yorktown. After that, a cut was made and those that stayed were asked to sing 16 bars of our own music. Then we came back in to dance Yorktown for Andy and Tommy. Another cut was made and then we danced a small section of Room. That whole day lasted about 6 hrs. Then I was called back a second day. That day was just women and we learned a section of My Shot and Room. Then they made a cut, we stayed to sing another 16 bars of our own, and Lacamoire quickly taught us 2 pieces of music from the show. Then another cut was made. After that, we danced the two combos from earlier in the day again. I got a call that night that I was being hired for a 2 week paid rehearsal process. Myself and a group of 9 other men and women were assigned an ensemble track and learned the music, staging, and choreography for 10 or so of the production numbers. At the end of that process, I was put on hold. 3 months later I was called in to sing again for Lac. I sang my own 16 bars and then learned the alto and soprano parts of Wait For It. That whole session lasted about 20 min. An hour later I got the call that I was being hired as the company’s first Universal Swing and would start rehearsals with the Chicago company.
Q: How did you become a Universal Swing? Did you have to audition again?
A: Universal Swing was my first position with the company. I’m not sure how the team knew I was up to the challenge since I’d never swung before, but it ended up being a pretty good fit. I loved the challenge and getting to work with all the companies, but my husband and I are really grateful for the stability that comes with being exclusively based with the Broadway company. Now I’m always home :)
Q: How did you decide to become an actress?
A: I’ve always loved performing, but as a kid I was particularly drawn to the old RKO and MGM movie musicals. I watched them religiously because of the way they celebrated danced. It never crossed my mind to pursue anything other than performing.
Q: Had you heard of “Hamilton” prior to being hired?
A: Of course! There’s been buzz about the show since workshops. Once it opened downtown, the city couldn’t stop talking about the show. I also had friends that were part of the original company, so I’d been hearing about it for awhile.
Q: “Hamilton” has a very large fan base surrounding it. How does it make you feel to see all of the support from the fans?
A: We have the best fans in the world. They’re like family because they love us just because we are part of something they love. It’s love by association, and there’s nothing more familial than that. My favorite thing is seeing their creativity and artistry come through in our fan art. I’m blown away by their talent and humbled that they would spend their time creating something so beautiful and then freely give it to us. I can never thank them enough for their love and generosity. We are nothing without them. I love them!
Q: What is your favorite song to perform from “Hamilton”?
A: It depends which day you ask me, but today it’s Yorktown! I love the empowerment of getting to perform gender neutral choreography. We aren’t men and women in that number. We’re just soldiers telling a story through dance.
Q: What is the difference between an understudy and a swing?
A: An understudy is an onstage company member who understudies a principal role in addition to whatever other role they perform at night. A swing is an ensemble company member that’s part of the offstage company and covers all of the ensemble roles.
I hope you all had very happy Holidays, and New Years! I spent a lot of my break setting up some very exciting interviews, and new types of articles that will be up soon! I can't wait for you all to see what's coming up next!