When I first learned that Hamilton The Musical was coming to Disney Plus, I couldn’t have been more excited. I remember hearing about the musical back in 2016 and the impact it had on Broadway. And man, it was worth the wait to see Hamilton on Disney Plus now. Watching the story of the founding father Alexander Hamilton from home has a different effect on you rather than seeing it on Broadway. An engaging powerhouse of a musical that really dives into the human experience in an incredible and educational way.
Hamilton was originally filmed in 2016 by the play’s director Thomas Kail. It follows the story of the founding fathers of the United States through the War of Independence, and other foundational historical events up to 1804 through the perspective of Alexander Hamilton. The musical really packs a punch. There’s hardly any dialogue outside of the songs, and they combine typical broadway music with rap, hip-hop, and jazz. Although the musical is about events that are centuries old, it’s incredibly relevant to today. Lin-Manuel Miranda says “This is a story about America then, told by America now.
We first need to give some praise to Leslie Odom Jr, Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs, Christopher Jackson, and Jonathan Groff? Because they outdid themselves in each of their roles. They brought their performances to life on stage with their charisma, charm, and emotional timing into every note they sung on stage. The ensemble cast of dancers and the orchestra were brilliant as well! The choreography made the bigger numbers all the better and the orchestra sounded phenomenal.
Creator/Writer Lin-Manuel Miranda portrays Alexander Hamilton as a man who seems to be lost inside trying to be absolute perfection. No matter how strong of a front he puts on, we see small moments showing how broken he is inside. Miranda shares the most creative musical form through love, friendship, betrayal, and loss by the form of rap. Hamilton is an intelligent, well-spoken man, but you can see how much he is trying to be accepted after much of his life was spent alone.
But then, we see Hamilton really get into his element when he meets John Laurens, Marquis de Lafayette, and Hercules Mulligan. The four are entertaining from the moment they come together on stage. Daveed Diggs was exceptional during the first act as Marquis de Lafayette, but he radiates to another level when he takes on the role of Secretary of State, and President Thomas Jefferson. He shines in all of his scenes. Anthony Ramos played both the characters of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton. Even though his time on stage seemed brief at times, he was compelling and exciting. We could really see and feel his characters, especially with his singing.
Okieriete Onaodowan played Hercules Mulligan and James Madison. He had plenty of comedic moments, which truly made him shine on the stage. Leslie Odom Jr. portrays Aaron Burr, whose charisma you cannot ignore. The way Odom can slip between the hard delivery rapping to the softness of his singing depicts the dimensions of his characters. He shines with his performance of “Wait For It,” where he puts on display all of his desires, pain, and resentment. It depicts how Burr thinks Hamilton is the villain and he is the hero.
There were a few other highlights to note that had me full of excitement. One was turning the cabinet meetings into a rap battle. Instead of a boring debate between two leaders, Daveed Diggs and Lin-Manuel Miranda have amazing chemistry on screen together. Another was the great comedic performance from Jonathan Groff as King George. Groff wasn’t in the play as much, but every time he appeared on stage he owned every single moment. When delivering one of his speeches condemning his former subjects in America, it was hard not to laugh as spit was coming out of his month. P.S. you’ll have to watch his scenes to know what I am talking about.
Even though the men had powerful performances in Hamilton, we have to give massive credit to the women of Hamilton. They are the heart of the show and the most underrated aspect to this unique experience. The Schuyler sisters are played by Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Jasmine Cephas Jones. Alexander Hamilton married one of the softer Schuyler sisters, Eliza, who was played by Phillipa Soo. You couldn’t help but fall in love with her. Especially at the end, when Soo sang the last song, you could see the beauty in her performance.
Renee Elise Goldsberry’s performance as Angelica Schuyler was extremely moving. Her portrayal of the sassy and sultry member of the Schuyler sisters makes her character so real and authentic. And let’s not forget the youngest sister, Peggy, played the wonderful Jasmine Cephas Jones. Each of these incredible women played extraordinary powerful women from the first act to the second.
Not only does the music allow the history of Hamilton to feel current and unique, but it also lends itself to make creative storytelling choices. It’s really amazing how they managed to capture the live performances and bring it to the screen. Hamilton on Disney Plus is the type of musical that will stay with you long after the cast takes their final curtain bow, and it is definitely worth watching the full two hours and forty minutes. You will laugh, cry, dance, learn a thing or two, and will want to do it all over again.