Hamilton on Disney+: A guide to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical

Everything to know about the musical sensation

Louis Chilton
Friday 03 July 2020 13:45
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Hamilton film trailer

A filmed version of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton is now available to stream on Disney+.

The show, which transferred to London’s West End in 2017, tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, a key figure during Revolutionary times who masterminded the US banking system.

Fusing the musical styles of pop Broadway tunes and hip-hop, Hamilton proved a huge hit with audiences when it debuted in 2015. It was later performed at the White House under the Obama administration.

Here’s everything you need to know about Hamilton...

What is Hamilton about?

Hamilton follows Alexander Hamilton, the ambitious 18th-century statesman and immigrant who served as a key advisor to the first US president, George Washington.

The story charts his rise from anonymity to power, his rivalry with former vice president Aaron Burr, and his eventual downfall. The musical is based on a biography of Hamilton written by Pulitzer prize-winning writer Ron Chernow.

In the original production, the role of Hamilton was played by the musical’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

What’s the deal with the Disney+ filmed version?

Earlier this year, it was announced that Disney had acquired the rights to a filmed version of Hamilton in a deal reportedly worth $75m (£58m). A planned theatrical release in 2021 was abandoned, with the film arriving directly on Disney’s newly launched streaming service on 3 July 2020.

The film is comprised of footage filmed back in 2016 at New York’s Richard Rodgers Theatre over the course of three performances. As such, the film features the original Broadway cast.

There are only a few changes to the production from the original stage show – namely, the removal of swear words to make the production suitable for children.

Who stars in Hamilton?

Alongside Miranda, the Hamilton film also features Leslie Odom Jr (Smash) as Aaron Burr, and Daveed Diggs (Snowpiercer) as the dual roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson.

Phillipa Soo plays Eliza Hamilton, wife of Alexander, and Frozen‘s Jonathan Groff plays King George III. The role of George Washington is filled by Christopher Jackson.

How can I watch it?

To watch the filmed version of Hamilton, you need to subscribe to Disney+. The streaming service recently announced it was ending its week-long free trial scheme.

Ordinarily, people would also be able to go and see Hamilton in the flesh, at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre, but productions have currently been halted amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

You can visit the theatre’s website for ticket updates here.

Is it historically accurate?

Hamilton has been widely praised for its educational value and for making US history accessible and entertaining. The decision to cast non-white actors in the roles of the founding fathers – while technically ahistorical – was also the source of much praise.

However, some historians have accused Miranda of whitewashing the real Alexander Hamilton’s transgressions.

Many of these criticisms were articulated by US playwright Ishmael Reed in his play The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda, which focused on an imagined encounter between the Hamilton creator and several historical figures omitted from the musical.

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