© 2021 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Anthony Ramos: A Quiz-mas Carol

Anthony Ramos on the Ask Me Another holiday special at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York.
Anthony Ramos on the Ask Me Another holiday special at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York.

As a member of the original cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton, Anthony Ramos had never actually seen the show from the audience's perspective until a month after he left. His verdict? "It was dope!" Between playing John Laurens and Philip Hamilton, Ramos died on stage sixteen times a week. "It gets hard on your heart after a while, you know?" he confessed to host Ophira Eisenberg at the Bell House in Brooklyn.

Ramos continued to brush up against death as the goofy bike messenger Mars Blackmon in the Netflix revival of the Spike Lee 1986 classic, She's Gotta Have It.On his very first day of shooting, he tackled a stunt where he biked down a hill and crashed straight into the camera thirteen times. "I was like, God bless; welcome to film and television!"

Lee kept directing Ramos to pedal all the way down the hill. "I just start saying, 'Thank you God for my life. Thank you for everything you've given me,' " Ramos said. Though the bike flew out from under him and got bent out of shape, Ramos channeled some "Iron Man-Robert Downey Junior-ness" and landed on his feet. Afterwards, Lee gave Ramos new direction: "Don't pedal all the way down." Ramos replied, "My man. That's what I been tryin' to tell you this whole time!"

Both She's Gotta Have Itand Hamiltonare set in the Bushwick native's home turf of New York City. During the opening credits of She's Gotta Have It, Ramos became emotional watching the photo montage of Fort Greene, past and present. "I was like, 'I'm proud to be from Brooklyn. I'm proud to be from New York.' "

As the bell strikes twice in our episode of "Ask Me Another: A Quiz-mas Carol," we challenge "Ghost of Quiz-mas Present" Ramos to an audio game featuring '90s and early 2000s pop covers of holiday songs.

HIGHLIGHTS

On watching Netflix's She's Gotta Have Itwith his girlfriend

I was like, 'Is it weird that I like my own show?' And she was like, 'Nah, I'm glad you like it.'

On his childhood Spice Girls sticker notebook

I had hundreds. Hundreds! ... I was stylin' and profilin'. I would walk with the book— just walkin' to class, just swinging my arm, makin' sure everybody saw.

On preparing for She's Gotta Have It

Spike [Lee] gave me the DVD and I still didn't watch it. ... I would kinda do my thing, and he'd be cracking up, and I'd just be like, 'alright, I guess— I guess I'm doing alright!'

Heard On Anthony Ramos: A Quiz-mas Carol

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.