Hamilton – Film Review

I remember being obsessed with Hamilton long before the cultural phenomenon won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

I used to be completely jealous when the production even had their own limited ‘Ham for Ham’ pre-show gigs outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre for those who were entering the daily lottery to win the opportunity to buy special tickets. The pre-show gigs were a gift to fans, so even though you may not have won the ticket lottery that day, you would still have been able to see a unique performance by the cast of Hamilton.

I suppose you could say that I liked (understatement) Hamilton long before it was ‘cool’. Having been a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work already with his musical In the Heights, it was not hard for me to be passionate about his latest (at the time) work that was demanding attention and turning heads. I would have seen the musical too, long before the Broadway production received its many accolades. However, I am from Australia and far from the lights of Broadway. The professional live recording of Hamilton, which is available exclusively on Disney+, is an incredible blessing, not only for Hamilton fans and musical theatre fans alike, but for everyone.

Inspired by history and based on truth, the musical production follows original Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton on his journey through America’s growing pains of war, political uncertainty, and independence. I can understand that perhaps this musical may sound extremely boring since, hey, it’s about history. Admittedly, even I did not enjoy studying history back in high school. However, Lin-Manuel Miranda infuses American history with rap, hip-hop and R&B, which may sound absolutely crazy, but with Miranda’s golden touch, the concept actually works and the result is pure genius. While the show has no dialogue and takes the old-school traditional musical approach to characters conversing in song (much like musicals Les Misérables and Miss Saigon), the production still feels fresh, exciting, and the music is catchy as hell.

Watching Hamilton is not only extremely entertaining, but incredibly educational. It won’t even occur to you that you’re learning about American history (I assure you) when watching Hamilton, as you will be having far too much fun jumping around to the tunes and shamelessly singing along, something that you wouldn’t normally be allowed to do (theatre etiquette and all) had you been in a real theatre.

The best part of this live recording is not only do you get to see this Tony Award winning musical from the comfort of your own home, but you also get to see the cast that originated the roles. After watching this, I am not surprised (not that I ever was) that Leslie Odom Jr. won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Alexander Hamilton’s life-long rival, Aaron Burr, beating Lin-Manuel Miranda who not only played the title role Alexander Hamilton on-stage, but created the book, musical and lyrics.

The stage production of Hamilton is slated for Australian shores in 2021 and you can bet that I will absolutely be going to see the Australian production when it finally arrives. Until then, I’m willing to wait for it while the live recording of the original cast provides me great joy and solace during this unprecedented time. I had always wanted to be in ‘the room where it happens’, I just never thought that room would be my own.

Hamilton will be released on Disney+ later today (July 3rd).

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