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Actor Phillipa Soo shares her top 5 NYC spots

Get to know rising Broadway actor Phillipa Soo, one of the the stars of Great White Way hit Hamilton

By Matthew Love
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When young actors dream of making it big in New York City, they’re dreaming of the life of Soo, a fast-rising theater star and stunning soprano whose aching vulnerability tends
to make hardened New Yorkers wish they still carried hankies. Not long after graduating from Juilliard in 2012, Soo was chosen as the lead in Dave Malloy’s immersive electropop opera, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, which held more than 300 performances Off Broadway. Now, after playing Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Eliza, in the universally beloved Public Theater run of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, the 25-year-old got her first taste of Broadway—as the female lead, no less—when the hip-hop reinvention of the founding father’s life hit the Richard Rodgers in July. “The screams—it was like
a Michael Jackson concert,” says Soo of the show’s first Great White Way preview. “As exciting as it was, it was also overwhelming and scary—you feel something for the first time, so wholeheartedly, that it knocks you off your feet.” Fair enough, but we couldn’t be more sure-footed about her career.

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Phillipa's top 5 places in NYC

1. Riverside Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Upper West Side

I was living in Harlem when I was in school, and I took the bike path in Riverside Park a lot. It’s about the water—a reminder that “Oh, I live on the earth and on an island!”—and it’s a fast-moving walkway. You can admire the city over your shoulder, and you see all these other people in transit. It’s freeing and feels like a bit of an adventure.

2. Public

Restaurants Australian Nolita

If I want to impress someone with a nice meal in New York, I take them to Public on Elizabeth Street in Soho. I’m into interesting dining experiences, and it has this crazy appetizer, Kangaroo Carpaccio. It’s not too fancy and not everything is that exotic—it has roast chicken, a filet—but there are a lot of exotic spins on standard dishes that people love. It changes the menu seasonally, and you can tell the people that work there have tried the food and have an opinion about it.

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Shakespeare in the Park
Photograph: Courtesy Shakespeare in the Park

3. The complete guide to Shakespeare in the Park in NYC

Theater

If there’s anything I miss when I’m working out of town during the summer, it’s outdoor shows in the park. Shakespeare in the Park is magical. It’s just something you go do—I think that’s true of not just people in the theater community but anyone in New York. And it manages to reach out to people who aren’t just a part of the artistic community.

4. Art Bar

Bars Lounges West Village

When Natasha, Pierre was in the Meatpacking District, we’d always end up at Art Bar. It’s not the best bar in the world, but I don’t want to go to the best bar in the world—I just want a place to go and chat with my friends. I just want a bar that has the standard drinks, and it serves pretty decent food until late, and it has a big room full of plush furniture that can accommodate a pretty large group of people without having to call and make reservations. It was easy for us to say, “Let’s all go there.”

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Brooklyn Bridge
Photograph: Michael Kirby

5. Brooklyn Bridge

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Manhattan

One of the best ways to see the city is moving through it. On foot or on my bike, I find the Brooklyn Bridge amazing. You can see the Statue of Liberty, the other bridges and journey into Brooklyn and really see the city from afar. You get a full-on perspective of the island. The architecture is really beautiful, and it’s awesome because it’s so huge. The fact that something that big is structurally sound—hundreds of thousands of cars go over it every day—is just amazing.

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