Hamilton is officially streaming now on Disney+, and the world is falling in love with this musical all over again. And even more people have access to this production than ever before. It has been a long three or so months, and we needed some kind of pick me up. New movies aren’t coming to theaters, and production on a lot of our favorite shows has had to stop and there’s really no sports going on. We needed something, and once again, Disney+ delivers.
I don’t remember when the first time was that I actually listened to the music from Hamilton. It was probably a couple of years ago, and everyone was talking about this incredible musical. I had to check it out. I consider myself a history lover, and sometimes I enjoy musical theatre. Sometimes I hate it. It really depends on the show. Because of the subject matter, this show piqued my interest. The music was pretty brilliant, but I had a hard time following because I had never seen the actual show.
When I heard that Disney+ was going to start streaming this last holiday weekend, I could barely contain my excitement. I was also somewhat hesitant., Stage productions don’t always translate well to the big screen. I was glad that this was a filmed performance, and not an actual film, I felt like that was a step in the right direction. There was still the possibility that it wouldn’t translate well, similar to the Newsies Broadway show that you can also watch on Disney+. It just isn’t that great. So I approached this last weekend with cautious optimism.
And Hamilton delivered. From start to finish, there isn’t really a point I did not enjoy this show. This was a performance from the original cast that was recorded with an audience, mostly, and it is just very good. The music is catchy, the performances are amazing, and the story is fantastic. It is well worth the time if you have Disney+. And if you don’t, it is well worth getting Disney+ for this.
If you don’t know what Hamilton is, then let me explain. It is a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. You can find a picture of him on a $10 bill. He was one of our Founding Fathers, wrote many of the Federalist Papers in defense of the Constitution, was the first secretary of the treasury, and basically established our banking system. Oh, and as every 90s kid learned from a “got milk?” Commercial, he was shot by Aaron Burr.
All of this is in the musical. Obviously, the creators of the show, primarily Lin-Manuel Miranda, took a few artistic liberties- like any show or movie based on a true story. Some things are left out, because it is covering a man’s life, and it just over 2 hours long. That being said, Miranda has said that he felt a lot of responsibility to get it as accurate as possible, The material is based primarily on the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. This is a pretty exhaustive biography of our ten dollar founding father, and is worth checking out. One of the biggest changes was the casting for this musical. It is a diverse cast, which was done on purpose. There are many African-American and Latinx performers in the named roles. This was done by design, and honestly, the meaning of the story still comes through with no issues.
Obviously, I loved this show, and would recommend it, but before I get into that too deeply, I want to talk about some of my favorite performances. Some of the highlights, if you will. The two leads- Hamilton and Burr, played by Miranda and Leslie Odom, Jr., respectively, are incredible, for sure. And really, there are no bad performances. There were a couple of performances, though, for me, that stole the show.
Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson. Diggs, along with a few others, actually plays a couple of roles in the play. Pre-intermission, he plays Hamilton’s friend Marquis de Lafayette, and he is great in this role, no doubt. He stands out and is funny and just great. However, when he shows up as Thomas Jefferson post-intermission, returning from France, it is just special. His first big number is about what he missed while he was gone is just incredible. And he is a great antagonist to Hamilton for the remainder of the show.
Jonathan Groff as King George. I can’t really explain why, but every time King George is on the stage and sings his poppy tunes, I just giggle. There is something so subtly done by Groff that allows the humor to get through. King George is the big baddy, obviously, but you still love him, almost as much as he loves himself. And Groff is perfect in this role. It’s strange, because his Lost in the Woods song is one of my favorites on Frozen 2. He just does musical humor right, I guess.
Pillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton. Eliza is the heart of this show. There is just something pure and lovable about her character. Your heart breaks for her multiple times in the show, but in the end, I found my heart soaring for her after hearing all she accomplished. Soo brings the heart to this character, and has some of the best musical moments of the show. Of the three sisters, she stands out for sure. In my opinion, she is the real hero of the show.
Hamilton is a great story, in my opinion. Alexander Hamilton himself was not without faults, and they show this in the movie. IN the end he is a victim of his own pride and unfettered ambition. He accomplished many things, but he was not ever satisfied, and as a result, like Angelica says, he flew too close to the sun. At the same time you have Burr, who has similar ambitions, but with no apparent convictions. There is something to be said for knowing when to be quiet, and not make waves, but at some point, you have to stand for something. You just have to. So, what do you stand for?
(Go watch Hamilton right now, if you haven’t watched it already.)