HAMILTON FOR KIDS
Se Hamilton at home with Disney+ ($6.99/month, or $57.50 for 12 months ). This Tony/Grammy/Pulitzer Prize winning hip-hop musical phenomenon lives up to the hype - and is a great way to get the young, scrappy and hungry excited about US history. Here are tips and resources for learning more about the moment and movement.
NEED TO KNOW
* The film will be availble at the stroke of midnight as July 2nd turns to July 3rd - in California. In New York, the show will start at 3 am. There are no plans for it to leave Disney+ anytime soon.
* This is a film of the Broadway show production, taking place on stage with a live audience - though there are lots of close-ups and cool camera angles.
* There will be a 1 minutes intermission between the acts (but of course you can pause anytime in the 3 hour run time - and no scary line for the bathroom like on Broadway).
* Your kid will probably become obsessed with the soundtrack; there is a clean version available (the one without the explicit label) to avoid being asked 'If Hercules Mulligan says it why can't I?' Same with the amazing Hamilton Mixtape with covers and remixes from top hip-hop, pop & r&b stars. Weird Al's Hamilton Polka is also a must-listen.
* Though two of the F* words are inaudible, there is still half of one in 'Say No To This,' which is about an extramarital affair (nothing graphic, just some clothed making our and sultry singing). The cast is in their underwear for much of the show, but it is Colonial underwear so not too much skin.
* A vulgar word for poop is used in 'Right Hand Man,' 'Yorktown' and elsewhere throughout the show. Bastard & whore are used in the intros to act 1 & 2 & 'Winter's Ball' as the true meaning of the words (son of an unmarried woman/unmarried woman who has a son).
* A few characters die by gunshot (and there is a war) and it gets very sad for a few songs.
* Ron Chernow, the author of the Hamilton biography that inspired the musical, was the show’s historical consultant and claims it is mostly accurate. Some details and chronology are shifted for dramatic effect- Hamilton never punched a bursar, Angelica had 3 brothers, there aren't records of Burr and Hamilton crossing paths quite so many times, etc.
* Though Hamilton publicly supported abolitionism (at times), the Schuyler family owned slaves and he handled some transactions. Despite his humble beginnings, he could be seen as an elitist who supported property over personal rights.
* The founding fathers were all white and did not rap, and James Madison was actually the shortest president ever at 5'4". Great opportunity to discuss what this creative choice means, why the whites got to make and tell the story, what has changed and what hasn't. See our black culture resources to continue the conversation.
* Read Hamilton’ and History: Are They in Sync? and A Comprehensive Guide to the Historical Inaccuracies in Hamilton the Musical for more and see cool portraits and docs in the NYLP Hamilton Archive.
* Read an annotated version of the lyrics for explanations of allusions, metaphors, etc.
* Act out scenes: Example - one person (as Angelica) reads "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Everybody else listens, as if they are hearing this for the time and thinking about what it means to them. Angelica continues - "And when I meet Thomas Jefferson. I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel!" Everyone yells 'Work!' Try this with other parts of the Declaration of Independence.
*Example 2: Make up some moves to 'Helpless.' Now do everything exactly backwards and 'rewind.'
* Watch/listen to Lin Manuel's other musical creations Moana, Mary Poppins Returns and In The Heights and compare/contrast. Get a bedtime story from Elizabeth Schulyer/Philippa Soo. And did you know King George is Sven in the Frozens?
* Anytime anyone asks 'What time is it?' respond 'Show time!' Not annoying at all.
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