What Does Hamilton Coming to Disney+ Mean for Diversity in Theater

For those who don’t know, the Tony-winning Musical Hamilton follows the life of America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton. The first act of the musical mainly focuses on the revolutionary war and how Hamilton rose from an orphan with no name to becoming the first treasury of the United States. Not to mention introducing a variety of characters that are essential to, not only the plot, but history as well. Such characters include Marquis de Lafayette, who was a french military officer that helped lead troops in the siege of Yorktown, and George Washington.  

The second act begins the downfall of the founding father due to the mistakes that he self-inflicted on himself. Ending with a duel with his former friend Arron Burr resulting in Hamilton being shot and killed.     

Crowded Theater Vlah Dumitru from Unsplash

However, what makes Hamilton special from other musicals that center around the founding of America, 1776 for example, is that Hamilton does not have any dialogue and that the majority of the songs are rapped rather than in the traditional musical theater style; making it a more modern Broadway musical. 

But the most important thing about Hamilton is not that it teaches a part of history in an entertaining way, but all the founding fathers and main characters, with the expectation of King George III, are people of color. 

The composer and creator of Hamilton Lin-Manuel Miranda made that choice in casting stating that those are the faces of America now. In many cases, this is true that the majority of those living in America are Black, Hispanic and Asian Americans. Not to mention, in today’s world, it is important that we diversify roles in media. Hamilton offers roles to people of color as founding fathers of this country which is such an important role as they are representing those who helped create America. 

oscars ceremony academy awards Photo by Christian Dionne from Wikipedia.org

Moreover, Hamilton is an immigrant story. We see the rise of this man as he came from nothing and became an important figure in American history. And while the representation in musical theater has gotten better over the past couple of years however the majority actor and actress that are cast are white. That is why Hamilton is such a game-changer as it takes characters that are mainly played by white people and instead makes it more inclusive and representative towards minority groups. As in the past, people of color were cast as minor roles, but now we see them as the faces of our founding fathers.   

So get ready to sing, laugh and cry along to this amazing and groundbreaking musical because Hamilton is truly a musical that we all need to witness.   

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