After graduating Juilliard in 2012, it didn’t take long for New York to recognize the talent of actor Phillipa Soo. She was quickly cast in the title role of Ars Nova’s Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (the adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace now on Broadway with Denée Benton in the role Soo originated Off-Broadway) and then as a Schuyler sister, rocketing to international fame along with her Hamilton castmates. As she originates yet another role on Broadway, the title character in Amélie, Playbill explores little-known facts about the Tony nominee.
1. Soo was a finalist in the 2013 Clive Barnes Awards
Founded by dancer and wife of the late theatre critic Clive Barnes, Valerie Taylor-Barnes, the Clive Barnes Foundation prides itself on discovering young talent in the worlds of theatre and dance. Since its inaugural honors in 2010, the Awards have identified some of Broadway’s most successful young names, including Derek Klena, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Tony nominee Rob McClure, Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford, and Tony winner Alex Sharp. Soo was a finalist for the award in 2013, thanks to her performance in The Great Comet, alongside Amber Iman, Aaron Clifton Moten, and Jonny Orsini.
2. Actors' Equity deemed Soo their “most promising female.”
The Clive Barnes Foundation wasn’t the only organization to recognize Soo’s potential. In 2015, Actors Equity bestowed upon her the Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Female for her work in Hamilton.
3. Soo’s most anticipated moment of Hamilton is…
In an interview with Lea Salonga, Soo said that the moment she most looked forward to each night was when she got to sing the words telling of Eliza Hamilton’s accomplishments. She felt the instant was “very much a culmination of the entire three hours of experience, the entire 20 years we've just seen in the play, the entire rehearsal process….”
4. Before Hamilton, Soo performed on the small screen.
Still within the theatre realm, Soo played the role of Lexi on NBC’s Smash, an ensemble member of Hit List, the Off-Broadway show written by Jeremy Jordan and Andy Mienuts’ characters. Since then, Soo has largely stayed onstage, but made an exception when she provided one of the background voices for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music in Disney’s Moana.
5. Soo originated the role of Amélie in the workshop version of the new musical.
While Samantha Barks played the role at Berkely Repertory Theatre in California, Soo did originate the role she now plays on Broadway when the project was in its earliest stages. The musical, directed by Pam MacKinnon, features a book by Craig Lucas (An American in Paris), music by Daniel Messé (Twelfth Night), and lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen (Tuck Everlasting). Based on the Oscar-nominated film of the same name, the show opened on Broadway April 2 at the Walter Kerr Theatre.