HONG KONG – Hamilton: An American Musical was written by the multi-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda. It features the story of the previously forgotten founding-father: Alexander Hamilton, and his rise through rough beginnings during the American War of Independence.
The musical has been described as “America then, as told by America now,” featuring many modern elements such as rap music.
The musical’s widespread popularity began with the soundtrack, featuring extremely original style and genius use of motif. Most appreciated the soundtrack and could only dream of ever hearing the songs performed live, until now.
Disney’s July 3 release of a movie from a 2016 Broadway Hamilton production features the original cast, as heard by many on the soundtrack.
Before the film’s exciting release on Disney+, getting tickets to a show was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity due to ticket prices, availability and, most recently, covid-19. However now anyone with a Disney+ subscription can watch the show over and over at ease.
I saw Hamilton live in London two summers ago after being an avid fan since the soundtrack came out. Although the original cast wasn’t featured, it was the experience of a lifetime.
I laughed, cried and marveled at the utter talent and story presented before me, such that I had dreamed of for years and counted down the weeks to see.
Watching a show in any theater is an experience in itself, but it is especially unique to go on such a journey with the audience that surrounded me in the Victoria Palace theater.
You become aligned in a cohort of unified reaction; you laugh together, cry together and spill out onto the streets together sharing fresh amazement and similar perceptions.
It’s an incomparable empathetic experience and by the end no one feels like a stranger anymore.
All this said, I downloaded a VPN and subscribed to Disney+ here in Hong Kong as I awaited the release of the Hamilton movie, eager to re-experience and to watch the original cast; the cast that shook America in the beginning.
And, although I bittersweetly missed the theater experience, I was free to sing-along, pause, replay, share and indulge in realistically-priced refreshments whenever I pleased.
With no etiquette or social rule to uphold, watching became a far more comfortable experience.
One thing I really appreciated were the camera angles presented in the movie.
Movie audiences watch from director-recommended perspectives, making several scenes further impactful. In some ways it was more intriguing to see the sweat, emotion and technique of the actors as they were presented. The show felt more personal.
Additionally, as this movie consists of scenes compiled over three shows, the most flawless of scenes were included, ensuring the movie was perfect.
Hamilton is still my favorite musical, and although I hope to see it live again one day, the movie will suffice beyond expectation until then.
I would recommend watching the Hamilton film adaptation almost equally as much as I would recommend the live show: both to a very high degree.
However viewed, Alexander Hamilton’s story teaches timeless lessons of perseverance, vulnerability, desperation and philosophical growth. I have internally referenced parts of the musical to fuel me through things in my own life on countless occasions.
The best way to describe Hamilton is utterly human; no matter who you are or where you come from, everyone can relate to some part of the musical, therefore making it flawless art.
Miranda perfectly re-ignited his legacy teaching countless young people all over the world, now more than ever before, to never throw away their shot.
Lili Connell is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.