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Q&A with Jennifer Geller, Hamilton’s “Bullet”

Winged Post interviewed Jennifer Geller, a dancer in the cast of Hamilton SF. Geller plays the Bullet–the dancing omen that foreshadows Alexander Hamilton's impending death throughout the musical. The text of the interview with her, which has been edited for style and length, follows.

Courtesy of Hamilton Broadway

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Winged Post: How do you personally connect with characters that lived in a bygone era?

Jennifer Geller: The people in this story embody the same qualities that we have today. They go through similar things. They experience envy, rage, heartbreak; there is political tension, a love story, friendship, infidelity, there are enemies, and so much more. Sure, it was a different time, but there is so much depth to this story, so much to connect to. And the brilliant writers made the show so incredibly contemporary, while still staying true to the poised nature and time period, whether it be through the costume design, the delicacy of the music at times, or even the language. I find myself so immersed in the story that it’s not difficult at all to share something that happened so long ago, because there truly is so much that we can all relate to!

 

WP: Were you a fan of Hamilton before joining the San Francisco cast? What was it like joining the cast of a musical that was already so huge and famous?

JG: I wasn’t a huge crazy fan, but I was most definitely a fan! I’d seen the show on Broadway and cried the entire time. It was the most amazing piece of work that I had ever seen in my entire life. It changed my life. And, I listened to the music constantly! So yes, I was a fan I guess! Being part of a musical that is so huge is absolutely incredible. It still hasn’t really sunk in yet; it doesn’t feel a hundred percent real! The audiences each night are outstanding; it’s unbelievable the way people respond to the show. It’s so refreshing and really wonderful to be able to impact people and to inspire and change lives. WP: According to “Broadway World,” you were previously a member of the cast for the off-broadway musical-comedy “Gigantic” as well as “Bring It On: The Musical.”

 

WP: How does your previous stage experience translate into your current role in Hamilton?

JG: Andy Blankenbuehler is an exceptional choreographer; he has an extremely specific style and quality of movement. Working on Bring It On with Andy was very beneficial because I was able to learn his unique style and specific way of moving. There is intention behind every step; he tells stories with his choreography. I think that experience translates to my current role. With Gigantic and the other shows I’ve been in, I think that any stage experience keeps me growing and learning.

 

WP: Do you have any routines and/or rituals before you go on stage?

JG: I do! My warm up is a routine; I have to warm up before each show so that my body is ready for the intense dancing. Warming up helps to prevent injuries! I do a little bit of cardio, some strengthening exercises, and a lot of stretching! I have an intermission ritual too; I eat an orange every single intermission! Obviously oranges are great and provide me with vitamin C to keep me healthy, but the sugar also gives me a little energy boost for the second act!

 

WP: The music featured in Hamilton is undeniably unique. How did you adapt to the hip-hop musical style of Hamilton?

JG: I have trained in hip hop my entire life, and I did Bring It On which had hip hop infused in it as well, so I didn’t need any adapting! Also, knowing the soundtrack helped!

 

WP: What is your most memorable moment from this year’s touring season so far? What do you look forward to in the future?

JG: So much happens in the show each night; unexpected things, funny things, things that only happen in live theater! We have had amazing times in the show and outside of the show in our free time. It’s so hard to choose a single moment, but I’d say opening night was super memorable. My whole family was here, my boyfriend was here, and it was an incredible feeling to open this show! I’m looking so forward to going to LA! I’ve never been, and I’m so excited for the amazing weather, the beautiful theater, and just to explore the city!

 

WP: How do you respond to all the hype surrounding Hamilton (i.e how does it feel to perform in a musical phenomenon)? 

JG: I’m pretty laid back with the hype; I enjoy everyone’s excitement! I sign autographs and take pictures at the stage door every night, and it’s so wonderful. It feels amazing to be able to impact people the way that this show does.

 

WP: What advice would you give to a young aspiring performing artist?

JG: Keep going! Never stop! Seriously. That’s all you can do! Don’t give up, don’t take no for an answer, and keep training. Keep trucking on, keep moving forward. Study, work the hardest that you possibly can, take masterclasses, go to intensives. There is always more to learn, there is always room to grow. See shows, be inspired, be curious, ask questions, talk to professionals. The people who succeed are the people who haven’t given up! So many people in New York City are told no, and don’t book jobs for months, even years sometimes, and then all of a sudden, they book a Broadway show. If they had quit, that would have never happened. Keep going! Amazing things come to those who work hard and don’t give up!

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on May 11, 2017.

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Q&A with Jennifer Geller, Hamilton’s “Bullet”