On the eve of the Fourth of July, Hamilton: The Musical was released for audiences around the country and the world through Disney Plus streaming. Where the words and creations of Lin Manuel Miranda could only be accessed in theaters for anywhere between $200-$900, it is now accessible to mass audiences in what is truly a vision of democratic values.
The revolution for equity, equality, and opportunity emerges when the ideas of such concepts are met with action. When knowledge is spread vast and wide across a nation, as each individual citizen recognizes his or her lack of benefit from these naturally granted rights.
Hamilton sings in ‘My Shot’: “This is not a moment, it's a movement… If we win our independence. Is that a guarantee of freedom for our descendants? Or will the blood we shed begin with an endless cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants? Are we a nation of states? What’s the state of our nation? Every action’s an act of creation! For the first time, I’m thinkin’ past tomorrow.”
At the cornerstone of every revolutionary moment in history, there comes a point when mass audiences must take a stand or stand down in comfort. What better way to confront a nation plagued by symptoms of divisiveness, inequality, lack of opportunity, and growing generational misunderstanding than through the comfort of their own homes?
Hamilton: The Musical covers matters of totalitarianism and corruption in government, education without purpose, lack of opportunity for immigrants, and even more issues relevant to today’s political, social, cultural, and mental environment.
Whether you’re watching the play in the living room as a family, alone in bed, or with your partner, the ideas proposed within the play are directed at YOU, the audience.
Miranda is quoted in a Washington Post article discussing the momentous push for the play to be streamed online:
“A show like ours has struggled to make itself accessible, because of the price of the tickets,” Miranda said. Now, he added, “I had the opportunity to put everybody in the same seat… More people will see the show between July 3 and 5 than have seen it anywhere onstage.”
From the public access to radio broadcasting in the 1920s, to the emergence of Television sets in family homes during the 1950s, to the modern digital age where everyone has the capacity to equally stream content, changing technology and access has defined the culture of a generation.
A study, ‘Who Built America’, reveals how, “These icons of mass culture competed with the traditional values of families and local communities in providing the primary channels for children's access to the outside world.”
As Hamilton: The Musical continues to stream across households worldwide, we will begin to see a confrontation with matters of individual circumstances. As the play reaches audiences varying in age, race, gender, and identity, there are countless opportunities for self expression and indulgence throughout the songs and scenes.
A young, black teenager may watch the play and consider his own legacy as he pursues an education against all societal odds. A woman residing in NYC can look towards the Schylur sisters and see femininity presented in three distinct roles, thus serving as inspiration for her own future desires. An older veteran of the work force might see George Washington’s resignation from his duties as a sign that he, too, is aging out of his career and might focus more on his own family.
This fourth of July, celebrate the boundless capacity of what American culture has to offer through this historical telling of one founding father and the circumstances surrounding his triumphs and despair, and embrace the historical moment that we ourselves are living through.