Since Hamilton became a contemporary theater phenomenon back in 2015, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s reinterpretation of the country’s history through Hip Hop is now part of the visual heritage of the entire nation.
At a time when the country was preparing to say goodbye to its first president of color, Miranda offered the audience a vision of a country founded by non-whites, in an attempt to demonstrate how heterogeneous identities have also been founders of today’s America.
After sweeping up awards and collecting all sorts of accolades, the piece inspired books, documentaries, exhibitions, and was also a vehicle to draw attention to the situation in Puerto Rico.
However, the message of the piece had not yet reached all possible corners.
Therefore, after Walt Disney Studios bought the distribution rights for a 2016 stage performance with the original principal cast in the Richard Rodgers Theatre, Miranda announced that Hamilton, the film, would reach all small screens on October 15, 2021.
But then, coronavirus happened.
The closure of public spaces and the impossibility of maintaining the momentum of the project forced Miranda and his team to bring forward the release of the film to July 3, 2020, just in time for the Fourth of July weekend.
And the critics didn’t wait long.
“‘Hamilton’ is a busy production live, with Andy Blankenbuehler’s nonstop choreography and movement paired with lightning-speed lyrics making for concert-like sensory overload,” wrote Johnny Oleksinski of The New York Post. “What’s rousing and transportive at the Richard Rodgers Theatre can be dizzying and confusing on TV.”
For A. O. Scott of The New York Times, the filmed version of the Broadway musical, “while not strictly speaking a documentary, is nonetheless a document of its moment.”
“It evokes a swirl of ideas, debates, dreams and assumptions that can feel, in the present moment, as elusive as the intrigue and ideological sparring of the late 1700s,” Scott added.
And for Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, the nine cameras situated in the theater by “the gifted Irish-American cinematographer Declan Quinn” guarantees you “the best seat in the house.”
This will definitely be a totally different way to celebrate the Fourth of July.