Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton’ aired on Disney+ this month, with the streaming platform removing their free trial deal ahead of the Broadway hits’ premiere.
Currently, the musical is only in production in New York and London so for many musical fans who have played the album on repeat without seeing the real deal, the news of Disney purchasing the $60 million film sent them into a frenzy online, especially during the lockdown when spirits were low.
Miranda describes the musical as “the story of America then, told by America now”. The composer and playwright took inspiration from the 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton written by Ron Chernow and spent the years following writing the music and lyrics, ultimately creating the story for what would become ‘Hamilton’, premiering on Broadway in 2015.
The musical swept through the Tony awards in 2016, winning 11 overall out of an astounding 16 nominations.
The filmed version of the musical features the original cast from 2016 in which Miranda himself portrays Alexander Hamilton.
It follows the story of one of America’s Founding Fathers, through hip hop, R&B and rap and runs for 2 hours 40 mins, featuring 46 songs. It is essentially a ‘live’ recording captured by six different cameras.
The musical cast includes Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, and Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.
Renée Elise Goldsberry plays the role of Angelica Schuyler, Phillipa Soo as Elizabeth Schuyler and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy, the youngest of the sisters.
Miranda’s delivery of Hamilton’s quick-witted nature is impressive and awe-inspiring, yet it is the characters of Eliza, Angelica and Burr that tug at the audiences’ heartstrings.
The character of King George III provides the comedic relief amongst the seriousness and often hard-hitting lyrics.
Played by Jonathan Groff, he exudes the snobbery, self- righteousness and sheer ignorance of the King and is undeniably one of the standout performances of the film.
Miranda reimagined the Founding Fathers as people of colour hence creating a hugely diverse cast. The original cast and film version included two white actors, with the rest of the cast being Black, Asian, Latino or mixed race.
The contemporary revival makes for an intriguing, refreshing and educational production for those not educated on this chapter of American history.
The one-minute interval between the two acts intended for bathroom breaks and snack refills can quickly turn into a 20-minute break with distractions at home so make sure you get comfortable and power through it for the full experience.
The energy is of course unmatched to being in the audience of a live production but it’s the next best thing and we can’t really complain.
The musical’s original cast album is available in full on Spotify and is certainly worth listening to before watching the film.
Image Credit: Emilija Gocevska