Seeing as we have no clue when Broadway shows will open again in New York City, this was the perfect time for Lin-Manuel Miranda to release the filmed on-stage version of his legendary musical “Hamilton” on Disney+.
The filmed musical was supposed to be released in theaters in 2021, but because of Broadway going dark indefinitely and uncertainty lingering when it comes to movie theater re-openings across the country, Miranda made the executive decision to push up the release of “Hamilton” so fans (and newcomers) can enjoy the masterpiece in the comfort of their homes.
If you’ve tried to see “Hamilton” in New York City or in a city near you on the tour, you’ll know that trying to snag a ticket is nearly impossible, unless you’re willing to drop a lot of money, which makes “Hamilton” on Disney+ an even better idea.
Seeing Broadway shows is a luxury that many Americans will never get to experience, so for most teens who grew up loving musical theater (like this writer), listening to a musical’s original cast album is the only way to experience a show. So the fact that “Hamilton,” arguably the most popular musical of the last decade, is readily available to stream, is a pretty big deal.
Considering Disney+ saw a 72% increase in downloads of its app over the weekend, it’s safe to say that bringing musicals filmed on stage to a mass audience is a pretty good idea.
Some will argue that theater is meant to be consumed live, but with so much uncertainty about when Broadway will return, it’s not a bad idea to start filming more Broadway musicals and plays for streaming networks.
Hollywood makes movie versions of musicals all the time (we wouldn’t be shocked if an actual “Hamilton” movie emerges in the next few years), and networks including NBC and ABC have been producing live musical events for the past few years, so why not pivot to filmed versions of musicals?
We’re not saying that every musicals needs the “Hamilton” treatment, but there are a few that we wouldn’t mind seeing pop up on Netflix, Hulu or Disney+ in the near future.
Here are a handful:
Before “Hamilton” was a blockbuster musical, “Wicked” was the must-see show on Broadway. While it’s still a wildly popular musical, fans have been begging for some sort of movie version for years.
While an actual movie of “Wicked” would be ideal, a filmed version of the musical on stage could have the same mass appeal that “Hamilton” does since it’s such a well-known show. It’d be even better if it included the original Elphaba and Glinda, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.
There already is a movie version of “Rent” that stars most of the original Broadway cast, but there is something that is so similar between “Rent” and “Hamilton” that it would make sense to give it the same treatment that “Hamilton” received.
Like “Hamilton,” “Rent'” stage production is done with very minimal scene changes. Actors bring out a few pieces of furniture here and there, but for the most part, it all stays the same. Both of the musicals are technically operas, too (meaning there is little to no dialogue), and that sometimes doesn’t translate well to a feature film. The best way to enjoy “Rent” is on the stage, just like “Hamilton.”
‘The Lion King'
Disney might see the success of “Hamilton” on its streaming service and start to think that some of the other musicals it owns would find the same success being filmed for a movie special.
Disney’s most popular and long-running show on Broadway is “The Lion King,” and it’s hard to imagine the people wouldn’t love to watch a filmed version of this production. While Disney is at it, they might as well film the Broadway versions of “Frozen,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Ever wondered what “Sesame Street” would look like if it were run with jaded adults and puppets who misbehave? Then you need to see “Avenue Q.”
“Avenue Q” is basically a satire on the beloved children’s show, and it won the Tony Award for Best Musical when it first opened on Broadway, beating out blockbuster musical “Wicked” in the race. The show is not only hilarious, but it’s witty, entertaining and surprisingly relatable. Watching a puppet lament about what to do with his English degree after college is tragic and hysterical all at the same time.
‘Dear Evan Hanson'
Part of what makes the version of “Hamilton” on Disney+ so exciting is that the original Broadway cast is in it, so we get to see stars like Leslie Odom Jr. and Renée Elise Goldsberry showcase why they won Tony Awards for their work in the show, alongside the man behind it all, Miranda.
“Dear Evan Hanson,” a newer show to Broadway in the past few years, is beloved by the musical theater community, and its star, Ben Platt, is equally beloved. Platt, who has gone on to star in “The Politician” on Netflix, among other things, is a true star now, so it would be very exiting to see him return to the show that won him a Tony Award in 2017.
Do you plan to watch “Hamilton?” Are there any musicals you’d like to see from the comfort of your home? Let us know in the comments below.