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Jul28TueHamilton brings history to movie screens and living rooms. July 28, 2020 by Jeanette Levellie
In a surprise move that delighted fans, Disney Studios released the movie version of Hamilton to Disney+ on July 3, 15 months ahead of its scheduled release date.
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“In this very difficult time, this story of tenacity, hope and the power of people to unite against adversity is both relevant and inspiring,” Disney executive chairman Robert Iger said on Twitter.
Stealing the Brag
Lin-Manuel Miranda, author of the original play and music score, told Variety.com, “You all have that friend that is like, ‘I saw it with the original cast.’ We’re stealing that brag because you’re all going to see it with the original cast.”
That cast includes Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Christopher Jackson as George Washington and Daveed Diggs in the dual role of the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. All the lead characters are played by people of colour, a purposeful decision by Miranda to focus on diversity and inclusion.
Making a Difference
With very little dialogue, Hamilton takes viewers on a modern musical journey sharing the fascinating story of one of the United States’ founding fathers. The soundtrack of catchy lyrics and energetic tunes became the bestselling cast album in Nielsen history. According to an interview in The New York Times, Miranda estimates the musical score as “one-third rapped to two-thirds sung.”
“Hamilton was born a penniless orphan in Saint Croix, of illegitimate birth, became George Washington’s right-hand man and treasury secretary, and all on the strength of his writing. I think he embodies the word’s ability to make a difference,” Miranda told an audience at an evening of music at the White House in 2009, before Hamilton was completed.
Jessica Wong of CBC News tells the stories of how Hamilton changed the lives of two students at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont.
“Matthew Joseph had performed in school musicals, but his plan was to study math in university,” writes Wong. When a friend shared the cast recording of Hamilton, Matthew’s love for musical theatre was reborn. “At that point, I decided I had to pursue this,” says the thirdyear theatre student at Sheridan. During his first year at the college, he joined a group of two other students to form the singing trio CZN.
Germaine Konji, in her fourth year at Sheridan, also attributes her pursuit of a degree in theatre to Hamilton. Germaine applauds how Miranda took long-held ideas about musical theatre and created a melting-pot culture of hip hop, jazz, rap and R&B. Before seeing the show, Germaine says that as a person of colour, she might not have seen herself in a history textbook on the founding of the United States. But Hamilton changed her thinking. Now she “sees no reason to be excluded.”
Something to Sing About
Since its creation in 1776, the United States has welcomed people of every race to its shores. It’s grown into a diverse family founded on the truth that all people are equally valuable and born with the same rights. Current race relations south of the border and here in Canada remind us that deep fissures still exist, but there are signs of hope.
When Jesus started His family— the church—anyone could join. The Apostle Paul said, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Inclusion is the heart of God’s family. He offers the same hope of overcoming sin and eternal life to every person. He doesn’t simply accept us as His children. He delights in our diversity.
And that’s something to sing about.