A look into the life of Alexander Hamilton one of the founding fathers of America and the first Secretary of the Treasury.
Captured live on Broadway from the Richard Rodgers Theater with the Original Broadway cast. Tony Award winners and winner of Best New Musical in 2016.
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Alexander Hamilton
Leslie Odom Jr. – Aaron Burr
Phillipa Soo – Eliza Hamilton
Daveed Diggs – Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson
Renee Elise Goldsberry – Angelica Schuyler
Jonathan Groff – King George III
Christopher Jackson – George Washington
Jasmine Cephas Jones – Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds
Okieriete Onaodowan – Hercules Mulligan/James Madison
Anthony Ramos – John Laurens/Philip Hamilton
Hamilton has been a true theatre sensation since its Broadway debut in August 2015, although was beginning to create hype from 2013 when it was first performed and then off Broadway February 2015. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a true genius and I was lucky enough to see In The Heights on Broadway the day before it won the Tony Award for Best New Musical, it wasn’t like anything I had ever seen before. So I just knew that Hamilton was going to be very special as well. I have seen it on stage in the West End in January 2018 (hardest tickets I have ever managed to buy).
This filmed production is truly breathtaking to watch and I personally love that it has been available on Disney+ for people to watch. For some people they would never have been able to see it on stage due to location and for many others you would be out-priced. The Broadway tickets had reached $4000! It was filmed both with and without the audience, so as you are watching it only after songs will you occasionally hear the audience reaction which I felt was a great way to show it. The parts filmed without the audience allow the cameras to get closer and be at different points on the stage. I really feel they have done something spectacular in the way it is filmed, as very different to the cinema live events I have attended in the past. This is beautiful and in 4K UHD easily along with truly outstanding and incredible sound to pick up those unreal songs.
The music is heavily hip hop which means we get plenty of amazing rap moments. As well as combining R&B, pop, soul and the more traditional show-tunes style. In my opinion that is where Lin-Manuel Miranda shows just how amazingly clever and unique his style is, managing to write the lyrics and compose the music.
In terms of the story we follow Alexander Hamilton an orphan who leaves his home on the island of Nevis and arriving in New York. He quickly meets Aaron Burr, John Laurens, Marquis de Lafayette and Hercules Mulligan and we are straight into the incredible songs going from ‘Aaron Burr, Sir’ to ‘My Shot’ and that really is an incredible way to get into the show. Each song as so much meaning and that is how the story is told, it is a proper musical in terms of that we don’t really have that much actual spoken dialogue.
Something that is great about seeing the show or watching this filmed version is that when I had listened to the soundtrack I didn’t really get the whole context of King George with ‘You’ll Be Back’ and how utterly hilarious that is. It is really difficult to try and pick which song you like the best, ‘Helpless’ is a very pop girl group style song.
The second act is a little less positive than the first when we get to see Hamilton’s choices have not always been the best, but with that we are given some highly amusing moments as well. This is something that I really enjoy about the show, in highlighting how people change their ways as they get older and with some life experience you end up not trying to take that shot anymore. The complicated love stories mixed together are pushed to the limits.
The performances are really on another level you can see why this was the original Broadway award winning cast. It’s actually hard to pick out a favourite performance as they are all so fantastic which is what drives the show. Lin-Manuel Miranda taking on the lead role is brilliant. Phillipa Soo is given some amazing songs to show off her incredible vocal range. Leslie Odom Jr beat Miranda to the Tony Award and you can fully see why as Aaron Burr he is outstanding. Renee Elise Goldsberry is given amazing songs as well and puts in so much emotion into her role. Christopher Jackson the General is given some stage stealing moments and he certainly has the voice and charisma to do just that. Daveed Diggs is another who won a Tony Award for his performance and everything he does on stage is just magical from his manner in walking around and his ability to turn it on for each song, just outstanding. Anthony Ramos is also very strong and I am very excited about seeing him in the leading role in the film version of In The Heights. Jonathan Groff is an actor who’s career I have followed for a very long time and I just think he is so hilarious as King George III giving some much needed relief and time to laugh. Okieriete Onaodowan is given some very good moments as well.
For a show to be this popular and well received you really do need to nail the original cast, especially on Broadway. That is something that they really did manage to do in spectacular fashion!
Hamilton received a record 16 Tony Award nominations and won 11 of those awards, actors were nominated against each other so it wasn’t actually possible for it to win all 16. I just hope with this premiering on Disney+ and we can still hope it will get the cinema release it was intended for as well that it will open theatre up to those that have never really been and might just want to now see musicals live in a theatre.