Look at …from home you don’t have the feeling of seeing the piece live with an audience. It cannot fully reproduce the magic of a live performance or the excitement of interacting with other viewers in a crowded house in real time.
But you can still enjoy it very much. This filmed version of Hamilton was recorded in June 2016 with the original cast at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway. The director Thomas Kail has the dual task of directing the film.
Kail continues to deliverThe piece was shot from different angles in the audience. Frequent close-ups are also used, a bird’s-eye view of the entire stage and occasionally framing the scene from the stage. The first time King George (Jonathan Groff) appears on stage, the camera follows him from behind and shows a backstage view that a normal audience would never see. After a devastating event, you can even see the tears on Phillipa Soo’s (Eliza Hamilton) face.
This filmed version of Hamilton democratizes the viewer’s experience, but it’s also hard to forget that what was recorded here was a play and not a film. The lighting, costumes, hairstyles and make-up are designed for a theater. Close-ups let the viewer see the microphone that is hidden on Miranda’s hair, but also his sweat. A normal theater-goer would not have seen Groff’s spit from such a short distance when he sang “You are coming back”. And a blue glow illuminates the faces of the actors due to the spotlights that illuminate the play. All the welcome feat of the theater is not quite found on a television screen.
I am trying to say that this is not the equivalent of Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables. Fortunately, it is noteither.
But once you get used to the idea of this hybrid between a play and a TV movie, you can enjoy Hamilton. And I enjoy.
In January I saw a live version of the show with a completely different cast in San Francisco. I loved it. This second look at Hamilton allowed me to relive the experience and appreciate it more. I could enjoy the catchiness and sharpness of the songs on the show more than when I first saw them.
Because of theRecorded theater performances are currently the only way to enjoy this art form. I still prefer the thrill of seeing a piece live, but I can definitely put up with driving Disney Plus like Hamilton in the meantime.
Hamilton is the origin story of the United States, told with a variety of black, Asian, and brown actors. There is evidence of the role immigrants played in the establishment of this country. “Immigrants, we’re doing the job,” says Marquis de Lafayette (Daveed Diggs) Hamilton, in a hilarious scene in which this US immigrant inexplicably missed the first time I saw Hamilton. There is evidence of the north-south divide and the need to end slavery. There are political plans, family dramas and romantic acts. The best thing is that the show honors writing as a way of life. You know, the whole writing, like he’s running out of Hamilton time.
This show, which lasts two hours and 40 minutes with a break of one minute, is one of those musical experiences that benefits from the second and third tour. I occasionally preferred aspects of the Disney Plus Hamilton experience – it’s a lot cheaper than theater tickets to get you started. But I also enjoyed being able to ask my husband questions about the story while watching (he has seen the HBO mini-series John Adams at least twice). I caught parts of the conspiracy I missed the first time. I revisited the history of US Presidents George Washington, Adams and Thomas Jefferson. I need to reassess the value of sound advice like “talk less, smile more”. And I listened to the wonderful soundtrack again as it should be heard: with accompanying pictures, choreography and performers.
When it ended, Hamilton’s infectious hip hop and rap songs were back in my head and I’ll probably be humming them for days. When I first saw the show, I was caught in a non-stop loop of “The Room Where It Happens”. Now I’m going through a “My Shot” phase.