Five years after its New York City premiere, the exponentially sought out musical, Hamilton, will now be available to be seen from the comfort of your own home.
A filmed version of the Tony Award-winning musical premieres on Disney+ on July 3. It was originally set to hit the big screen in 2021 but was bumped up a year on the streaming platform, “in light of the world turning upside down,” said Hamilton’s composer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda in a released statement.
“Our biggest issue has always been accessibility,” Miranda said on Good Morning America of bringing his mega-hit biomusical about Alexander Hamilton and America’s forefathers to people’s living rooms. Fans have been clamoring to see the production since its debut at the Public Theater. Following a sold-out run and rave reviews, it quickly transferred to Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre with an opening night on August 6, 2015. During its first few years on Broadway, it was tough to get tickets, especially to see Hamilton’s original cast. “I am really glad we had the luxury basically to shoot an independent film in the first year and now the world can see what it felt like to be in that room in June 2016.”
Now, this film version will be available for paid subscribers of Disney+ for $6.99 a month. It’s a way to enjoy the show while Broadway and theaters across the country that housed touring productions remain shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I love the idea of being able to experience the show at a time when the show’s not being performed right now,” said Hamilton’s orchestrator and musical director, Alex Lacamoire.
“The access to it is a big change[r],” Leslie Odom Jr., who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Aaron Burr, said on Good Morning America. “When I was in the show, the only place you could only see the show at that time was in New York City. So we could only dole the thing out 1,300 people at a time.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the film so you’ll be all set to be in the room where it happens.
When to Tune In
Hamilton drops on Disney+ at the same time Cinderella’s carriage turns back into a pumpkin: 12:00 AM PT / 3:00 AM ET on July 3. So either stay up late to hit play when the clock strikes midnight or wake up really early! Good thing the premiere leads into a holiday weekend ahead to catch up on some sleep. It will be available to stream as many times as you’d like, according to Miranda, and will be up on the streaming platform indefinitely. Click here to sign up for Disney+.
Who’s In the Show
Almost everyone from the original Broadway cast will be featured in the film. Lin-Manuel Miranda stars as Alexander Hamilton; Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson; Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler, Leslie Odom, Jr. as Aaron Burr; Christopher Jackson as George Washington; Jonathan Groff as King George III and Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton. The cast also includes Carleigh Bettiol, Ariana DeBose, Hope Easterbrook, Sydney James Harcourt, Sasha Hutchings, Thayne Jasperson, Elizabeth Judd, Jon Rua, Austin Smith, Seth Stewart, and Ephraim Sykes.
“I heard a lot about the original Broadway cast but I have never seen them,” quipped Odom Jr. on GMA. He’s already watched the film at home with his 3-year-old daughter. “I’ve never experienced the show with that company of artists. I heard they were great. It’s a really rare gift — this second bite of the apple.”
What the Show Will Look Like
This is not a movie adaptation of the Broadway musical. This is actually the Broadway musical. And you have the best seat in the house with close-ups of all the spit and sweat. It was filmed at the Richard Rodgers Theatre over the course of three days.
“We filmed a live performance with cameras in the audience on a Sunday matinee,” revealed Miranda on GMA. “Then the audience left and we continued to film close-ups, dolly shots and crane shots all night Sunday and all day Monday. We filmed close-ups and steady cam — and all the coverage you would want to get in a movie on our day off on Monday — continuing to film Tuesday morning. All the way to another live show Tuesday night with all the cameras in the audience in different positions.”
When the official trailer for the film dropped, it was one of the few times fans who haven’t seen the show live got a sneak peek at what Hamilton looks like on stage. At the 2016 Tony Awards, the cast performed a number from the show, but it was slightly altered to fit the time restraints of the CBS broadcast and to pay respect to the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting the night before by forgoing guns used as props.
What to Listen For
If you’ve listened to the album, you’ll hear every note plus some!
There are some small, subtle tweaks made to the beginning and end of the film, according to Lacamoire. “I think musicians will probably notice it the most,” he hinted.
The cast album was recorded in August of 2015 and the movie was filmed in June 2016. “That’s a whole year of doing a show eight times a week and getting deeper into the material for people to feel richer and more nuanced,” explained Lacamoire of some of the differences fans might pick up on.
“I think people who know the cast album really well will notice those kinds of things but I think what they’ll be struck by is the fact that this is a live performance,” he added. “I think what they’re going to see is that theater, by nature, is a medium where every performance is different. Nothing will ever be the same. So if people know the cast album, they’ll realize that the cast album was a capture of one particular interpretation of a song on that day we happen to be in the studio recording the song.”
The film was rated PG-13, to fall in line with Disney standards, so that means a few curse words have been cut. Motion Picture Association of America rules that more than one utterance of the F-word is an automatic R-rating, according to Miranda. Since there are three in the show, two of three F-words have been altered.
In the song “Yorktown,” there’s a mute over “I get the f___ back up again.” Another bleep comes in the lyric, “there’s a record scratch*kin Democratic-Republicans.” As Miranda noted, feel free to “sing whatEVER you like at home (even sync up the album)!”
For the first time, fans will be able to hear the bow and exit music that plays as audiences leave the theater as well as the “the weird thing Thayne does during bows. All of it” explained Miranda. The sound of laughter, claps, and gasps will also be present, but “not the ringtones,” he added on Twitter.
There’s also a small scene that will be heard for the first time among first-time audience members of the musical. A section with John Laurens that comes between “Dear Theodosia” and “Non-Stop” was omitted from the album. Miranda told his fans on Tumblr four years ago that “it really is more of a scene than a song, the only SCENE in our show, and I think its impact is at its fullest in production form.”
Don’t Miss a Beat
Yes, there is an intermission! There’s even a one-minute countdown clock so you know when to return to the couch with more drinks and snacks.
A pint of Samuel Adams might be a good drink of choice, Miranda suggested on E! for your watch party. “I’d advise you against taking a shot every time we say the word ‘shot’,” Miranda said of what not to do during the show. “Because you don’t want to go to the hospital in 2020.”
There will be subtitles. According to Miranda, since the film was pushed up a year and a half Disney will be adding alternate language subtitles as they come in. Remember, there are a lot of words in Hamilton that are said very quickly, so those translators have a lot of work on their plates.
History has its eyes on this premiere. After all — this groundbreaking musical is uniting everyone for a unique kind of fireworks on the Fourth of July weekend.
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