Lin-Manuel Miranda provides a modern take on one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America in “Hamilton.” This play has taken Broadway by storm and has led to many Tony awards. There have been calls for years to make this play for easily available to the masses, and Disney+ made it happen with this recording of one of the performances.

This is quite the unique take on who has become the seemingly forgotten Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. Miranda provides his unique rapping style to turn Hamilton’s life story into a musical. We see Hamilton during the American Revolution, during his tenure as the first Secretary of the Treasury, following the disgraceful ending to his political career and right up until his endorsement of his political adversary, Thomas Jefferson, leading to the duel with Vice President Aaron Burr that ended Hamilton’s life. Hamilton created our federal financial system as we know it. We hear the stories of Washington, Jefferson, John and Samuel Adams and Revere, but we hardly saw anything about Hamilton before this play.

I’m not the biggest fan of rap music or rap musicals, but I enjoyed the music. Miranda is an immensely talented musical writer and it shines in the songs of this film. But, you have to actually know colonial history and the early days of the American Republic to truly appreciate the content. There’s amazing performances by the men and women who portrayed many of the most important figures in American history including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, King George and Eliza Hamilton.

There is a flaw with this presentation that can’t be helped. Watching on TV, instead of being in attendance at a live show, removes some of the enjoyment from the experience. I believe seeing it in person would bring the viewer into the ultimate “Hamilton” experience. The audience is on the ride together and will appreciate it all together. Watching it on a TV brings all the content, but it can’t provide the live audience experience. During this pandemic, with so many shows shut down completely, there’s nothing we can do about that. This is our best option to share the musical right now, but the next time I watch “Hamilton,” I would rather see it in person than on TV. I’m definitely not watching this on TV again, but I’m hopeful I can attend a show in the future. Although I still say “Hamilton” tickets should only cost $10, thematically speaking.

It was an enjoyable show. It’s better than plenty of other musicals I’ve seen. It’s a lot better than that attempt to turn the iconic “Cats” musical into a movie. It’s intricate and detailed. I can see why it took Miranda seven years to write it. But, at the same time, it’s not the best musical I’ve ever seen. I understand why it had so much hype, but as with most things that receive the hype “Hamilton” did, it was a little too much hype. However, that’s not the fault of “Hamilton” but of the hype machines.

Ranking: 3 stars out of 5.

It would probably be higher if I saw it in person, but I can only give the TV version 3 stars. But, what did you think of “Hamilton?”

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Jeremy Brown

Jeremy has been a big Disney fan since he was a kid growing up during the Disney Renaissance. One day he hopes to go to every Disney Park in the world.

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  1. Jessica July 5, 2020

    I saw it in person in Memphis. We wanted to see it with the original cast while it was on Broadway but we were just never able to make it happen. The Memphis production was wonderful! That being said, seeing it with the original cast and so up close (and we didn’t have bad seats when we went to Memphis) has brought a different level of appreciation for Hamilton. Maybe you need to watch it a second time to appreciate it better than 3/5 stars :) And while I’m making recommendations, if you haven’t already, you should watch the episode of Drunk History where Lin tells the story of Hamilton! I think you might enjoy it.

  2. Jon B July 5, 2020

    Good review. I haven't seen the film yet but going by a touring production, this is a great show. That said, even without the pandemic, a lot of people probably can't make it to a show and there's likely never gonna another chance to see it with the original cast. Not seeing the film, I can't say definitively if a loss of 2 stars for being on TV is fair but I will say, with so many iconic shows with equally iconic cast only existing as audio recordings of just the songs, I'm probably more lenient as Hamilton escapes and can be appreciated for just $6.99. PS 1: if you have a 5.1 audio set up, the rear channels play audience reactions/clapping, so THAT may help. PS 2: useless production trivia, but this taped production was filmed during a Sunday and Tuesday performance, with the traditional Monday off used to film close-ups and shots that would've gotten in the way of the live audience. Again, not a huge deal as they're not gonna rewrite the entire show for different days, it's just funny hearing it called "one performace" :)

  3. Mark July 6, 2020

    Was really excited to be able to watch Hamilton last night. Of course, I didn’t expect it to be as good as watching it live in a theatre. However, my wife and I switched off after 20 minutes. We could not hear a high percentage of the lyrics. I tried to put on the subtitles, but they did not work for this show. Very disappointing!

  4. Tracey D July 20, 2020

    Okay, I do have to disagree about the magic of live theatre, yes live theater is amazing, but being able to see it at all is an awesome! In my honest opinion I give it 5/5 stars! The music and story are both engaging. Wish all my history lessons were this good.