“Hamilton” Movie

Hamilton Movie

This past summer, despite the coronavirus cancelling many traditional July 4th barbecues and get-togethers, families across the US still had something to look forward to; in May, Disney+ announced that it would begin streaming a movie version of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton on July 3rd, just in time for Independence Day. 

For many longtime fans of the show, like myself, this unexpected announcement was beyond exciting. Due to Hamilton’s notoriously high ticket prices, seeing the musical live was never a possibility for many people. Therefore, the release of the so-called “Hamilfilm” made the show much more accessible and gave thousands of people the ability to watch the songs and history come alive for the first time.  

The making of the Hamilfilm began in 2016, when most of the original cast was still performing. They filmed two shows with nine cameras and over 100 mics, and then got close up shots from 13 of the 46 numbers in between performances. The resulting movie allows the viewer to experience the full length musical as if they were right in the theater and right on stage. 

Even though the final product was complete in 2017, the film’s team wanted to keep it in the archive for a few years before releasing it. In 2018, Disney outbid everyone else for the rights to the movie, and announced a plan to release it in theaters on October 15, 2021. However, when COVID-19 swept across the nation and shut down live performances and movie theaters, the Hamilfilm team realized the world needed the show sooner than planned. 

Ms. Lupien of the Social Studies department was certainly grateful for the film’s early release, saying “being able to stream the show broke up the monotony of COVID days during the summer.” Overall, she “thought it was a fantastic performance by extremely talented performers,” and from a teaching perspective it “brought history to life about a founding father that is often underappreciated.”

Senior Eliza Falk, who knew the music but had never seen the show live, similarly felt “it was absolutely thrilling to see the shining lights on stage and the dancing performers.” Once school started again, she rewatched it with “some of the girls in Treblemakers, the all women’s chorus,” and they “were able to stay entertained and at the same time socially distance.”

The film’s release in June also coincided with the surge in the Black Lives Matter movement. Even though the musical is centered around white historical figures, the cast is extremely diverse, which helps amplify the voices and talents of people of color and makes a statement about standing up to the ‘white man’s world’ that America too often is. As Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musical’s creator, says, Hamilton is “a story of America then told by America now.” The hip-hop and rap music style of the show is also inspired by artists of color, and the casting sends a message about the importance of diverse representation. 

In the future, the Hamilfilm team hopes to release it in theaters as originally planned. But until then, if you want to experience the show and feel like you’re in “the room where it happens,” you can stream Hamilton on Disney+!