You won’t exactly be in the room where it happened, but on July 3, a historic television showing of the blockbuster Broadway musical Hamilton lands on the Disney+ streaming service, and we have the details you need to know.
The film stars the original Broadway cast, including creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in the titular role, Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton and Jonathan Groff as the hilarious King George III.
Timed for the holiday weekend, the show will drop at midnight Pacific Time, so that’s 3 a.m. on the East Coast if you want to be the first of your friends to see it.
Broadway shows are often recorded for archival purposes, and kept at the New York Public Library, but are rarely released for commercial runs, in part because it could hurt Broadway ticket sales. Before the pandemic, Hamilton productions around North America and in London were routinely sold out, with the best seats on Broadway retailing for $847. Its cast album has been on the Billboard 200 chart for 246 weeks.
The film was shot in 2016, shortly after the show raked in 11 Tony Awards. The original plan was to keep the film under wraps for five or six years; Disney had announced it would release the live-capture film in theaters on Oct. 15, 2021. But then the coronavirus started spreading around the world, and everything from Broadway to local movie theaters shut down.
In some ways, this could be a better way to watch Hamilton, since the filmmakers installed nine cameras around the theater, taking in wide shots, close-ups and overheads. But it’s not live.
The 161-minute film is the full Broadway show — and even includes an intermission. One change that fans may notice is that two of three obscenities in the show have been muted or rendered inaudible so that it could secure a PG-13 rating.
You will be able to watch it as many times as you want, assuming you maintain your $6.99 monthly Disney+ subscription (the free trials have coincidentally ended). Disney has not yet announced precisely how long it will be available on the platform, but you can probably expect it to disappear once the live show is back on Broadway.
Why all the excitement?
It’s the most successful Broadway musical of the modern era, a Pulitzer Prize-winning phenomenon penned by Miranda that was first revealed 10 years ago at a White House poetry jam for President Barack Obama.
It tells the story of the founding fathers of the United States by focusing on Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury and an influential writer and promoter of the Constitution as the document was being written. The score is hip-hop-influenced but varied in style, from British Invasion pop to R&B classics. According to Miranda, this version includes the pre-show announcement and the bows and post-show applause, so here’s hoping you may always be satisfied.
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Go to Disneyplus.com to sign up for the service; it’s $6.99 per month and you can cancel anytime you want.