REVIEW: Hamilton In Depth With Kelley Carter & Hamilton: History Has Its Eyes On You
Can't get enough of Hamilton yet? There are two specials streaming on Disney+ that can enhance your experience.
The Undefeated Presents Hamilton In-Depth with Kelley Carter came out with Hamilton on July 3. The special was set up as a Zoom interview call with show creator and cast member Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail and cast members Leslie Odom, Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs, Phillipa Soo, Anthony Ramos, Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones, and Okieriete Onaodowan.
Carter talks with them about the origins of the show and the significance of the show being a cultural phenomenon, but also digs in deep about the relevance the show has today.
"If there is anything really political about the show is that the fights that were present and the paradoxes that were present at our founding still exist. They're the same fights we're still having. And that is from everything from the original sin of slavery to gun control..." said Miranda, "And the way in which I wrote them is to try to make them as present as possible."
When Carter asks about what it means to have Hamilton presented on Disney+, Kail compared the experience to a modern day campfire. "We wanted to do that in a way that lowered the barrier to entry. Theater is too expensive. There aren't enough theaters and not enough seats for the people who want to participate," said Kail. "But if you put something out in this way, you're giving something to the people that they might have wanted but didn't have access to and, again, we have to give access."
Hamilton: History Has Its Eyes On You dropped on Friday, July 10. Hosted by Robin Roberts from Good Morning America, the special features Miranda, Kail, Odom, Goldsberry, Diggs, Soo and Jackson with Onaodowan featured at the beginning in a short clip. Joining them is Harvard historian and Professor Annette Gordon-Reed.
When Roberts asks about the accuracy of Hamilton and whether it matters that much, Gordon-Reed told her that it was okay if a show wasn't 100% correct as it will inspire people to go out and learn more about these leaders. Miranda added, “Our goal over the course of writing it was: honor the impulse that made me think it was a musical. To me that was the relentlessness of Alexander Hamilton and the fact that this is an immigrant narrative in the US before there’s even a US.”
Roberts has different youth ask questions such as what can white people do as an ally in this new revolution.
"We have to, have to, have to, have to take the deeper dive. Educate ourselves further. Make sure we're doing everything we can to understand the world around us because the only way we're going to make change is by getting in there and understanding why these systems work, and changing it and using our voices to change it," Soo responded. "And so, I guess, anyone who is going to turn 18 in the next couple month needs to make sure they're registered to vote. Needs to make sure they're friends are registered to vote. That's the least we can do. Because people have lived, died and survived in order for us to be able to use our vote. So to throw it away. As Lin says, 'Don't throw away your shot.' If that's your shot to vote, don't throw it away."
The two specials are not vastly different from each other and cover similar ground, but they are still fascinating and worth watching. Perhaps the ones who will eat this up the most are really those of us who can't get enough, who enjoy watching the cast interacting with each other and to be inspired by them and who want to catch a glimpse of the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda.
But, more than anything, I have to commend Disney for adding these to Disney+ as it further expands the conversation around Black Lives Matter and the revolution of today. Disney rarely gets credit for doing the right thing, but it's nice to see them take these kinds of moves and get their watchers thinking in the way Hamilton does.
Both are listed as "Suggested" programming on the Hamilton page.