The recording of the Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton releases today, July 3rd, on Disney Plus. This was originally announced as a theatrical release for next year, before moved up for an early release on streaming.
The film is edited together from three performances of Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City in June 2016 with the OBC. Hamilton was a ginormous, 11 Tony Award-winning hit on Broadway, written by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda. The cast also feature Leslie Odom Jr, Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Christopher Jackson, Anthony Ramos, Okieriete Onaodowan, Jonathan Groff, and Jasmine Cephas Jones.
The musical was inspired by Ron Chernow’s bio of the nation’s first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, whose story struck Miranda as mirroring that of a hip-hop star. The New Yorker wrote “In Miranda’s telling, the headlong rise of one self-made immigrant becomes the story of America.”
The recording has been released to critical acclaim, as of this writing holding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a rating of 91 on Metacritic.
Hamilton is a rare example of a Broadway musical that broke out past theatre geeks into a wider cultural stone – but given its themes, it’s very appropriate that it should now be available in a format more accessible than a Broadway Production. Like most fans of the musical I first fell in love with the cast recording, before eventually seeing the Chicago Production of the show. Seeing the original cast – in a recording quality superior to what’s previously been available – sounds like a real treat though.
There’s also the question of how well this material fares in the current cultural moment. There’s certainly some debate to be had about how the musical handles the Founders’ relationship with Slavery, as well as in general whether its Obama-era upbeat view of America still plays well.
I’ll be having what I suppose you could call a little watch party with my family later today to view the musical. I felt compelled to stay away from most early clips of the musical. Despite there not really being any spoilers for me – I do want to preserve any of the little surprises of how a production did something or how an actor delivered a line that day.
Please share any of your thoughts on Hamilton and its Disney Plus release!