I’m proud to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for the brilliant and fascinating Hamilton and Me (An Actor’s Journal) by the simply incredible Giles Terera. Thank you to Suzie Jacobs and Nick Hern Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book which offers a rare insight into the world of the West End and a behind the scenes look at the worldwide phenomenon that is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton.
About the book:
“This is one of the most joyous and clear-eyed approaches to playing a characterthat I have ever read” Lin-Manuel Miranda
Hamilton and Me: An Actor’s Journal is an honest and thrilling inside account written by one of the UK’s leading actors, Giles Terera, who played Aaron Burr in the London production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit, award-winning musical Hamilton which opened in London’s West End in December 2017 and won a record-equaling seven Olivier Awards.
One of the most important actors of his generation, Giles Terera was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2020 for his services to theatre. Before securing a lead role in Hamilton, Giles Terera worked as a writer, producer and filmmaker and performed in West End shows such as Avenue Q, The Book of Mormonand Rent, and at the UK’s most prestigious venues including the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe alongside the likes of Jonathan Pryce, Lenny Henry, Hayley Atwell and Ralph Fiennes.
At a time when performing arts is desperately missed, this is a wonderful opportunity to not only step back into the auditorium but explore behind the scenes to gain a rare insight into one of the most important cultural spectacles of our time, and enjoy an experience that would typically remain a mystery.
This new and deeply personal book reveals Giles Terera’s unique experiences from his own life that helped shape his acclaimed portrayal as Aaron Burr – a journey which began more than a year earlier with his first audition in New York. Hamilton and Me: An Actor’s Journal explores everything involved in opening a once-in-a-generation production, from the extensive research and preparation to intense rehearsals, preview performances and finally opening night itself.
Throughout this exhilarating time, Terera kept a journal, recording his experiences of the production and his process of creating his award-winning performance. This book, Hamilton and Me, is that journal. It also features unseen colour photographs and an exclusive foreword by Hamilton creator and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda.
In Hamilton and Me: An Actor’s Journal we learn of the triumphs, breakthroughs and doubts, the camaraderie of the rehearsal room and the moments of quiet backstage contemplation – as well as a fascinating, in-depth exploration of now-iconic songs and moments from the world-famous musical, as seen from the inside.
Olivier Award-Winning actor Giles Terera said: “As an actor, I’ve always kept rehearsal journals. It helps me process what I’m experiencing as well as helping meremember what I’m supposed to be doing. When I was asked to play the part of AaronBurr in Hamilton I knew that it would be both an incredible challenge and anextraordinary journey – one I wanted to learn from as well as enjoy. So, every day, Ikept notes on the work and the experience. I’m so happy that an experience which hasbeen so life-changing for me might now be of use to students, theatre-makers and anyone who loves Hamilton as much I do.”
Creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, said: “This is one of the most joyous andclear-eyed approaches to playing a character that I have ever read. I am so grateful Giles took notes on his process and turned them into this book. I was already in awe of his performance; now I’m in awe of his humanity and attention to detail and willingness to share the hard work and magic that goes into it.”
Matt Applewhite, Managing Director at Nick Hern Books, adds: ‘It’s an honour to be publishing Giles’s brilliant personal account of his time in the most extraordinary theatrical phenomenon of our age. His bookis joyous and moving, searingly honest, beautifully written,and a delight for anyone interested in a new perspective onthis truly groundbreaking show. After a challenging year for theatre, this really is something for us – and for readers – to look forward to this summer!’
This an essential read for all fans of Hamilton – offering fresh, first-hand insights into the music and characters they love and know so well – as well as for aspiring and current performers, students, and anyone who wants to discover what it really felt like to be in the room where it happened.
Nick Hern Books will publish Hamilton and Me in hardback, ebook and audiobook on 1stJuly 2021, in all territories outside of North America. More information about the bookcan be found at www.hamiltonandme.com.
About the author:
Giles Terera MBE is an award-winning actor, musician and writer. He trained at Mountview Theatre School and has worked consistently at venues such as the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe. He is best known for originating the role of Aaron Burr in the London production of the award-winning musical Hamilton, for which he won the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
His other theatre credits include Rosmersholm, The Tempest,Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, 125th Street, Rent (West End);Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Hamlet, Death and the King’s Horseman, The Hour We KnewNothing of Each Other, Troilus and Cressida, Candide, Honk! (National Theatre); The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe/international tour); The Resistible Rise ofArturo Ui (Donmar Warehouse);Pure Imagination – The Songs of Lesley Bricusse (St. James’s); King John (Shakespeare’s Globe/UK tour); Don’t You Leave Me Here (WestYorkshire Playhouse); The Playboy of the Western World (Abbey, Dublin); The Ratpack (West End/international tour); Jailhouse Rock (Theatre Royal Plymouth/West End); You Don’t Kiss (Stratford Circus); Up on the Roof (Chichester); The Tempest (RSC);Six Degrees of Separation (Sheffield); Generations of the Dead (Young Vic); BillShakespeare’s Italian Job (Playbox, Warwick/Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh); The DemonHeadmaster/The Animals of Farthing Wood (Pleasance, Edinburgh).
As a writer, his theatre work includes The Meaning of Zong (Bristol Old Vic), The Ballad ofSoho Jones (St. James’) and the upcoming Black Matter (Crazy Coqs). As a filmmaker,Giles’s first documentary, Muse of Fire – created with Dan Poole – centres on modernperspectives of Shakespeare and premiered on BBC Four in Autumn 2013. Giles was anassociate producer on Poole’s feature documentary The Space: Theatre of Survival andhe wrote and directed the concert film Hello Harry! A Celebration. Giles was appointeda Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to theatre.
About Nick Hern Books:
Nick Hern Books (NHB) is the UK’s leading specialist theatre publisher and performing rights agent. They’re home to the best contemporary plays by many of today’s most exciting UK and Irish writers – including Mike Bartlett, Chris Bush, Jez Butterworth, Caryl Churchill, debbie tucker green, Ella Hickson, Anna Jordan, Arinzé Kene, Lucy Kirkwood, Conor McPherson, Rona Munro, Jessica Swale, Jack Thorne, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Enda Walsh – as well as leading American playwrights such as Annie Baker, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Stephen Karam, Tony Kushner, Tracy Letts, David Lindsay-Abaire, Kenneth Lonergan, Suzan Lori-Parks, Lynn Nottage and J. T. Rogers. They work with major theatres and theatre companies across the UK and in Ireland to publish new plays alongside their professional premieres – often in the form of a ‘programme/text’ that combines the functions of theatre programme and playtext – and also publish many classic plays and plays in translation. They also license their plays for amateur production, enabling them to be staged by community theatres, schools, colleges, universities and youth-theatre groups around the world. NHB also publishes practical books by a range of highly renowned and respected practitioners, teachers and performers – including Peter Brook, Gregory Doran, Richard Eyre, Stephen Jeffreys, Jeannette Nelson, Andy Nyman, Antony Sher and Harriet Walter – on topics such as acting, singing, writing, directing and more. For more information, visit www.nickhernbooks.co.uk.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about the worldwide phenomenon that is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton? As a huge fan of musical theatre I would have to have been living under a rock not to have seen what a huge impact this groundbreaking musical has had on the world. I would have given anything to see the show live but sadly that hasn’t happened (yet!). And then last year in the midst of a global pandemic Lin-Manuel Miranda shared his masterpiece with the world and I could finally see what I had been longing to see since I first heard about it. And I fell completely and utterly in love! I can honestly say that watching Hamilton (numerous times!) helped me through the dark times of lockdown and solidified my love not only for its creator, who wrote the foreword for this remarkable book, but also for the whole cast (past and present) and the wonder that is live theatre.
Which brings me back to the reason why I’m writing this review: Hamilton and Me (An Actor’s Journal) by Giles Terera, the ultra talented actor who originated the role of Aaron Burr in the West End production of Hamilton. I haven’t been lucky enough to see Giles perform live, but I have watched many videos on YouTube of his phenomenal performance in the show, so when I was offered the opportunity to read and review his new book I couldn’t respond to the email fast enough! Hamilton and Me offers a rare insight into the world of musical theatre and of Hamilton itself as it progresses from auditions to rehearsals to the stunningly beautiful show it turned out to be. Throughout the process Giles Terera kept detailed rehearsal journals and it is these journals that form the basis of this incredible book.
I absolutely adored this book! Giles Terera’s writing is warm and relatable, instantly transporting me behind the scenes of the beloved musical, giving us a rare view of exactly what it’s like to be in ‘the room where it happens’. His understanding of the source material and how he relates to the character of Aaron Burr is fascinating to read about. Giles puts so much of himself into the role, breathing life into a performance that is every bit as good as the great Leslie Odom Jr, so much so that he becomes the character and makes the role his own.
Hamilton and Me is a book you need to experience for yourself and is a book any fan of musical theatre will adore! It has been a huge privilege to be a part of the blog tour for this stunning book and I can’t thank Suzie Jacobs enough for inviting me to take part. Hamilton has such a special place in my heart and now Hamilton and Me has a special place on my bookshelf! Thank you to everyone, from the great Lin-Manuel Miranda to each and every member of the cast and crew, past and present, for sharing this masterpiece with the world. And last but not least, thank you to the ultra talented, warm and beautiful human that is Giles Terera for sharing his unique and personal insight into a show that has stolen so many hearts.
One day I will get to see the show live, but in the meantime I’m off to watch the incredible Hamifilm all over again…
Hamilton and Me by Giles Terera is available to purchase now.
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