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ABOUT THE BOOK
‘Stand. Breathe. Look. Try to empty my mind. Somehow, for some reason, I have been brought to this place to tell this story, now. So tell it. That’s all.’
When Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton opened in London’s West End in December 2017, it was as huge a hit as it had been in its original production off- and on Broadway. Lauded by critics and audiences alike, the show would go on to win a record-equalling seven Olivier Awards – including Best Actor in a Musical for Giles Terera, for his portrayal of Aaron Burr.
For Terera, though, his journey as Burr had begun more than a year earlier, with his first audition in New York, and continuing through extensive research and preparation, intense rehearsals, previews and finally opening night itself. Throughout this time he 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 offers an honest, intimate and thrilling look at everything involved in opening a once-in-a-generation production – 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 musical, as seen from the inside. It is also deeply personal, as Terera reflects on experiences from his own life that he drew on to help shape his acclaimed portrayal.
Illustrated with dozens of colour photographs, many of which are shared here for the first time, and featuring an exclusive Foreword by Lin-Manuel Miranda, this book is 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.
Hamilton and Me will be published by Nick Hern Books in Summer 2021, and will be available to pre-order soon.
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 Knew Nothing of Each Other, Troilus and Cressida, Candide, Honk! (National Theatre); The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe/international tour); The Resistible Rise of Arturo 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 (West Yorkshire 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); Bill Shakespeare’s Italian Job (Playbox, Warwick/Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh); The Demon Headmaster/The Animals of Farthing Wood (Pleasance, Edinburgh).
As a writer, his theatre work includes The Meaning of Zong (Bristol Old Vic), The Ballad of Soho 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 modern perspectives of Shakespeare and premiered on BBC Four in Autumn 2013. Giles was an associate producer on Poole’s feature documentary The Space: Theatre of Survival and he wrote and directed the concert film Hello Harry! A Celebration.
Giles was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to theatre.
Praise for Giles Terera's Aaron Burr
‘Giles Terera steals the show with his sphinx-like charisma as Hamilton’s nemesis, Aaron Burr’ The i
‘Giles Terera is terrific as Aaron Burr, who narrates this story, anchoring it, managing to hold together the whole exploding maelstrom’ The Times
‘A star-making performance... as the ambitious Burr, Terera has a cool shrewdness. But there are notes of resentment, awkwardness and longing in his performance — Burr’s appetite for politics is quickened by a thwarted desire to be, as one second-half song emphasises, in “the room where it happens”’ Evening Standard
‘Giles Terera plays Aaron Burr, Hamilton's friend and fatal foe, in a combined role of both narrator and protagonist; a structural task he lands with the easy authority and perfect timing of Mohammad Ali in his pomp’ BBC News
‘A lithe, even slimey, solitary figure always desperately trying and failing to fit in, Terera grounds Burr’s growing resentment beautifully... Terera’s Burr has a gnat-like quality, easily swatted away despite his brilliance. Little wonder life grinds him down to bitterness, even something like madness and, as Burr’s star falls and his life stalls, Terera’s eyes cross in blinkered enmity. You feel for him hugely’ Variety
‘Giles Terera is splendid as Burr, the frenemy and nemesis who is Salieri to Hamilton’s Mozart, all silky, privileged containment and disengaged calculation as opposed to his fellow orphan’s committed impetuosity’ Independent
‘As Aaron Burr, Giles Terera gives a shiny performance that shows how his character’s smoothness becomes his nemesis’ New York Times
Production photos of Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London
by Matthew Murphy © George III Productions Limited