Five years after taking Broadway by storm with its multi-racial, hip-hop take on America’s founding fathers, “Hamilton” arrives in millions of homes around the world on Friday as a film.
Shot over three days in 2016 at the stage musical featuring the original cast, the film lands on the Disney+ streaming service as America celebrates Independence Day weekend.
For creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s a chance to connect with people at a time of global restrictions to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Live theater in the United States has been shut down since mid-March.
“It actually feels great that we have the ability to give this as a gift in this moment,” said Miranda. “This reminder that hey, live theater is wonderful. Don’t forget about us when we are able to come back.”
The musical, which won 11 Tony Awards, tells America’s past from the perspective of the present day. It casts Black and Latino actors to play Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Aaron Burr and other white historical figures as scrappy young revolutionaries seeking independence from Britain more than 200 years ago.
Rather than a movie version of the stage show, the “Hamilton” film gives audiences the best seats in the house.
“We’re not cutting for time and we’re not moving scenes around,” said director Thomas Kail.
“What I was trying to do is use the lens to give the audience intimacy and also remind them of what it felt like to be in the theater at that moment in time.”