Directed by Thomas Kail. | Released 2020 | Runtime – 2hours 40mins
The hit-Broadway show came to our TV screens on 3rd July. In a time where being able to see a live theatre production isn’t quite in reach (just yet), Disney+ packaged up Hamilton so it could be enjoyed in the comfort of our own homes.
The biographical musical centres on Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers and the first Treasury Secretary. An orphaned immigrant, the show tells the story of Hamilton’s ambitious work-ethic, from his roles during the American Revolution to his work as the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. It also depicts how he met and married Eliza Schuyler, and the steadying conflict felt by Aaron Burr.
Produced, written, and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show was recorded with the original Broadway cast at Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City, in 2016. Running for an epic 2h 40 minutes, you won’t want to miss a single second of this production.
Hamilton is intelligently crafted and creatively realised, full of the finest performances. It’s certain that the talents across all fronts, combined with its uniqueness, is what has helped it earn its place since debuting in theatres. It’s certainly not often you can enjoy a history lesson told through hip-hop, R&B, and catchy showtune melodies, thanks to the array of 8 Mile style rap-battles mixed in with the traditional and emotive songs. Hamilton successfully takes a piece of the past and turns the heavy facts into an entertaining extravaganza, with the freshest of attitudes and approaches.
What the film no doubt adds to a live-watch of the production is the ability to offer intimate close-ups of the cast, as they express their feelings in a variety of emotional scenarios. Unless you would have been lucky enough to secure front row seats, the seamless editing and camera work certainly aids in the telling of the narrative. There’s no need to worry where you’ll be sitting, because this version captures the more subtle but exceptionally acted moments to immerse you in the story. Home viewing certainly offers a detailed view of the intricate set design and elaborate costumes, which can be admired closely from your TV screen.
Speaking of the cast, it’s clear that each member offers their best unflawed performances. In his titular role, Lin-Manuel Miranda encapsulates his character’s unrivalled determination. Leslie Odom Jr. (as Aaron Burr) adds a unique flare to the show, hitting an incredible range of notes, whilst simultaneously driving the emotional weight of the story. Daveed Diggs plays both Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, providing the many punch-lines with unmatched charisma and swagger. Chris Jackson portrays George Washington with utter grace, coming across as a bit of a smooth, higher power.
The two leading ladies (Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler) are mesmerising and make their job look effortless, with Soo also offering a particularly endearing performance when it comes to her acting scenes. With the shortest screen-time, Jonathan Groff excels as the campy, rage-spitting version of King George III; really quite far away from his character in Mindhunter, Groff is downright hilarious and show-stopping, and certainly not out of his comfort zone.
All in all, Hamilton is electric in every possible way. It’s made its mark on Broadway and it will certainly leave its mark on viewers at home. Oh, and if you’re put off streaming a musical because you’re worried it will feel abnormal or leave you longing for the theatre, then fear not, because there’s a one minute intermission to echo that experience.
Available to watch now on Disney Plus