'Hamilton' was a major surprise for me when seeing and hearing it. Music is such a big part of my life, being now a semi-professional singer and raised into a musical family, and am a fan of musicals, especially the golden age ones. History was also one of my favourite and best subjects in most of my up and down school life, until it didn't work out in sixth form when my confidence went and my comprehension and drive worsened. So having a musical to combine the two immediately intrigued me, despite not being the biggest fan of the dominant styles here (was raised on classical music and opera personally).
That is what was meant when saying that 'Hamilton' was a major surprise. Hearing that a filmed version of a production was coming to Disney+, which has been a much needed distraction, there was no doubt in my mind about seeing it. So that the mix of history and music, the meaningful and relevant lyrics, the brilliant performances and the energy and heart it has can be revisited again. It does play fast and loose with history, blame that on the musical and not the production, sure and the style(s) of music that dominates the score here are not my first choices usually, but actually for its entertainment value, emotional impact and how well crafted it is as an overall whole, 'Hamilton' was a real winner. As was this production. Which was very much needed after suffering through 'Artemis Fowl', a musical surprise adapted masterfully and so accessibly and through a particularly unsettling time in a terrible few years.
It, the production that is, looks great. The sumptuous and true to the respective periods costumes especially and the setting is not too elaborate or overblown while still never looking cheap. Personally thought that the production was very well filmed, certainly compared to other filmed productions of musical theatre, opera and ballet seen and have seen many of each (being a major fan of all three). It made me feel like a member of an audience seeing it live, expect seeing it far more accessibly in terms of money and locations. Which is what is so great about these live/streamed performances and they have proven to be invaluable. Of which 'Hamilton' has been a big highlight.
Musically, 'Hamilton' is on point. Those that don't like the styles are best staying away unless wanting to see what the hoopla is all about, but as someone that saw it with an open mind and wanting to stretch even more my musical horizons 'Hamilton' made me appreciate hip hop and rap much more because they were so well done in their own way. When they are well done and not too repetitive or preachy, yes it is dependent on how they're executed in my view rather than any bias towards the styles, that is when it is easy to appreciate them and that is what 'Hamilton' excels so well in. Also found it very well accompanied.
What also comes over brilliantly is how 'Hamilton' is written. The musical and performance are very song heavy, which some may not like dependent on what your feelings on musicals, hip hop and rap are (some love it, others hate it and it is all down to taste which is fair enough). Found the melodies very clever and easy to remember, amazing considering how many there are and not an easy thing to achieve these days. It was the lyrics though that made a bigger impression on me, these lyrics were vastly entertaining and also at times quite emotional but what is just as admirable are their honesty and how relevant they are. These are lyrics that are likely to connect for many, and from the sounds of it have done. Historically, it is far and loose but that didn't matter for me being somebody that watched not expecting a history lesson. 'Hamilton' does very well at making people more interested in history and the particular time periods depicted, that is from my experience from seeing it with people that felt exactly the same as me. What is great about this production is how it does so well in being true and capturing the spirited energy and heart of the musical itself, which is what filmed adaptations of musicals in my mind should do.
Really loved 'Hamilton's' performances. Have seen both love and hate for Lin Manuel Miranda's performance. Personally loved his work here, he was very heavily involved in making 'Hamilton' work, his dilligent efforts very much obvious here, and he gives the equivalent of the performance of his life here. He is charming and has great authority and comic timing and really do disagree that he doesn't have singing ability, he proved in 'Mary Poppins Returns' in my view that he could and he does great in this regard too. Dramatically he is the stuff of legends as is the joy that was Leslie Odom Jr. Daveed Diggs brings tremendous energy in Act 2 especially and Jonathan Groff is absolutely hilarious here. Phillipa Soo and Renee Elise Goldsberry shouldn't be overlooked either, Soo is especially good. Okieriete Onaodowan has great chemistry with Diggs and holds his own against him when they're together, especially as Madison.
Concluding, truly brilliant in my view. It won't be for all tastes but even if one is put off by the first twenty minutes if not knowing what to expect my advice really is to stick with it. It is not worth certainly not bragging about turning it off about 15 minutes or something, that is the equivalent of barely seeing it. One of the easiest 10/10's given recently.