“Rewind, rewind, rewind,” interrupts the ensemble. The lights warp, the tables turn, the dancers seem to go backwards. Didn’t we just see these moves in the previous song “Helpless,” about how Eliza Schuyler fell in love with Alexander Hamilton?
Yes, you did. And now you’re watching it all over again — this time, from the perspective of her older sister, Angelica Schuyler.
“Satisfied” is an extraordinary “Hamilton” moment, cinematic in its conceit and execution. With a string of brief but potent scenes, the flashback reveals that Angelica also fell hard for Hamilton.
But the cameras that zoomed in on their palpable chemistry have also caught the enamored face of Eliza. And after some internal turmoil about familial duty and societal expectations, Angelica chooses to break her own heart and introduce Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) to her sister (Phillipa Soo).
The 5½-minute song is visually, lyrically and technically intricate, with Renée Elise Goldsberry at its literal center. The actress, who won the Tony Award for this performance, was part of the original off-Broadway and Broadway casts — who now get to see their work preserved on screen in a film version now streaming on Disney+.
“There was always so much pressure and anxiety about it until it was over,” Goldsberry recalls about her showstopping moment. “Nothing more powerful than live theater, but what’s beautiful about it being on film is you can take the time to really see how many levels of storytelling are going on.”
Ahead of the “Hamilton” movie’s release, Goldsberry got granular about nailing the number, unpacking its layers and watching herself perform it for the first time.
“Satisfied” is complex in the techniques it demands of its performer. How did you go about learning it?
It was part of the audition, which I wasn’t even going to go to, actually. The line that they put out for people to come in was a Nicki Minaj type, and I just didn’t think anybody would hire me to be that fabulous. I was about to basically say no to myself and not go, but the night before the audition, I listened to the demo of the song, and I was like, “Oh my God, I have to know what he’s saying so, so fast; I have to go home and have this song on my lips.”