Hamilton: everything you need to know ahead of its Disney+ premiere

Just in time for the weekend and American Independence Day, stage sensation Hamilton is arriving on Disney+. Lin-Manuel Miranda's runaway hit reimagines the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton as a hip-hop-laden voyage of discovery. And the filmed version showcasing the original Hamilton cast is ready to stream on Disney+ from 3rd July.

Having consumed multiple awards during its globe-trotting run, Hamilton is now ready to consume your attention – and there's no need to venture any further than your comfy sofa. And if you've got no idea what Hamilton is or what the hype's about, we're here to help...


What is Hamilton?

Winner of 11 Tony awards and a Pulitzer prize, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is nothing short of a theatre phenomenon. Hamilton tells the story of the life of orphan and immigrant Alexander Hamilton from his humble beginnings on the island of Nevis to his relentless rise through the ranks of the American War for Independence as Washington’s right-hand man, and eventual employment as the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury.

Adapting Ron Chernow’s biography of the man whose face adorns the $10 bill, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Moana; Mary Poppins Returns) took the story and wrote the genre spanning musical. Primarily sung-through, and drawing on, hip-hop traditions, Hamilton references everything from Notorious B.I.G to Grandmaster Flash to Beauty and the Beast (yes, really).

As a second generation American, Miranda wrote a musical that celebrates immigrants and the diversity of America – seeing a cast of mostly BAME actors tell the story of the birth of a nation. Its title track was first unveiled at the White House, in front of then-president Obama, in 2009. It would then take another six years for the production to be finished, and it eventually made its Broadway debut in 2015. It made the transfer to London in December 2017 to further acclaim in the revamped Victoria Palace Theatre (where it won 7 Olivier Awards).

Who stars in Hamilton?

The initial Broadway production showcases Lin-Manuel Miranda, rapper and actor Daveed Diggs (soon to be Sebastian in the upcoming The Little Mermaid remake) and Christopher Jackson (The Lion King on Broadway, CBS’s Bull, Moana). They play Hamilton, Marquis De Lafayette/ Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, respectively.

Hamilton’s best friend John Laurens is portrayed by A Star is Born’s Anthony Ramos – he also doubles up as Hamilton’s son Phillip in Act Two. The narrator and glue holding the show together is undoubtedly Leslie Odom Jr. (soon to play soul legend Sam Cooke in One Night in Miami) who plays the political antithesis to Hamilton, Aaron Burr.

Hamilton would be nothing without its leading ladies: powerhouse performances are delivered by Philippa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones, who play the Schyler sisters (Eliza, Angelica and Peggy, respectively). And no Hamilton cast would be complete without the tyrannical and almost Monty Python-esque portrayal of King George III, played here by Mindhunter and Frozen’s Jonathan Groff.

What is this Hamilton movie?

This is a filmed version of the stage musical rather than a film adaptation. It was due to premiere in October 2021 – however, it was moved forward due to COVID-19. Thomas Kail, the director of the stage version, also directed this filmed iteration.

Shot in 2016 in the final week of the original cast's run, this is edited together from three live performances. There are some mild differences to the theatre version of the show – in order to obtain a PG-13 rating (the rough equivalent of a 12A in the UK), there are two instances of language being toned down.

While this cast was running, tickets were selling for an eye-watering $500 each. Therefore, this Hamilton film will be the first time a lot of fans get to see the performances by the actors they will have heard so many times on the cast recording album.

Where can we stream Hamilton?

Hamilton can be found exclusively on Disney+ who purchased the rights to the performance for the princely sum of $75 million. There is surely no coincidence that this is available ahead of American Independence Day, and to quote Angelica Schyler: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal’ and when I meet Thomas Jefferson, imma compel him to include women in the sequel WORK”.

Hamilton is available from July 3rd on Disney+. Let us know @Cineworld if you're planning to watch it.