- Released just in time for the Fourth of July, Disney+ did a big favour for anybody who couldn’t get a ticket to the broadway sensation known as Hamilton. ALL 160 Minutes of it! Read on to find out all of the behind the scenes facts that you might have missed.
1) Hamilton was filmed over the course of three days!
The film itself is a combination of filming two live performances as well as many close-ups, dolly shots, Steadicam and crane shots without an audience.
2) They used 12 special numbers to film three to four times
They used these numbers in order to get as many close ups as possible meaning that around 33 musical numbers were simply from filming the live performances themselves.
3) Jonathan Groff is only on stage for nine minutes in every show
In total, Groff is only on stage for nine minutes as King George the third but he did manage to pick up several Broadway.com awards for his role in Hamilton!
4) The song that is said to have left the biggest impression on Leslie Odom Jr was ‘The Story of Tonight’
After watching the preview of the song, Leslie is quoted as saying ‘Never in my life, you see, had I seen four men of color on a stage singing together about friendship and brotherhood.’
5) Difficult rehearsals
Okieriete Onaodowan who plays Hercules Mulligan/James Madison in the film explained that they had to learn all of the choreography in the studio, then re-do it when they got to the theatre due to the addition of the turntable.
6) Angelica almost wasn’t a character
Before coming up with the song ‘satisfied’, Lin-Manuel wasn’t even sure that Angelica would get to be a character. He didn’t think he would have ‘time to get into that’.
7) Lin-Manuel added an entire second section to guns and ships just for Daveed Diggs
After being so impressed with Daveed Diggs sense of rhythm, Lin-Manuel added an entire second section to the song ‘Guns and Ships’.
8) 6.3 words a second!
During Lafayette’s fastest rap line in ‘Guns and Ships’, Daveed Diggs averages around 6.3 words a second. Making it the fastest-paced lyrics in musical theatre history!
9) The Bullet
Ariana DeBose plays the role of The Bullet, did you catch her in the film? Rewatch it and pay attention to the positioning of her character making her an omen of death throughout the entire show.
10) Right Hand Man
Lin-Manuel wrote the middle portion of ‘Right Hand Man’ during a tech rehearsal. There wasn’t even enough time to type up the lyrics so the musical director and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire worked off of what Lin had scribbled in his notebook.
11) Staying in character
Phillipa Soo is known to stay completely in character when Eliza is sat next to Philip teaching. Andrew Chappelle who understudied Phillip, said that they would talk about Philip being nervous to perform the poem for Hamilton.
12) Praying on stage
During ‘Dear Theodosia’ Leslie Odom Jr would actually bow his head and say a small prayer for his daughter who wasn’t born yet. By the end of his run in Hamilton, Leslie had said over 500 prayers for his future daughter.
13) Burn letters
The letters Eliza burns during the song ‘Burn’ are cursive transcripts of the real letters between Eliza and Alexander.
14) Two minutes and nine seconds
The letters are on a type of paper that burns for around two minutes and nine seconds. This is so that the flame is first noticeable whilst Eliza is onstage, but they extinguish so she can finish the song in a blackout.
15) Daveed Diggs originally improvising
Daveed originally improvised Jefferson’s ‘Um France’ line during the song ‘What’d I Miss’ when being asked about where he had been. It made Lin laugh so much they he decided to make it a feature of the song.
16) The final gasp wasn’t planned
The final gasp at the end of ‘Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story’ wasn’t planned but Lin-Manuel Miranda realised that he could add another moment that would be seen to extend beyond the ending of the song.
17) Special Thanks
Did you catch the special thanks section in the credits? Here Lin-Manuel thanks all of the places he wrote Hamilton over the course of 7 years. Even down to the A train where he wrote ‘Wait For It’.
18) In a vault
The recording of the show was kept in a vault until Disney brought it. The creative team at Hamiltion knew they weren’t going to release it straight away, so they stored it on an encrypted hard drive in a Midtown Manhattan Vault.
19) Groff was already done
Groff had already finished his run as George the third when filming was taking place, but he came back months after leaving just to take part in the filmed performances.
20) How many awards?
Hamiltion received more Tony Award nominations than any other show ever, scoring an amazing eleven nominations!
21) Sharing the profits
The Hamilton cast struck an unusual deal where the original cast members receive a percentage of the profits from the movie!
22) All from a book
In 2007 in the airport on his first vacation after the closing of In The Heights, Lin-Manuel picked up a copy of Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton and from then on his imagination went into overdrive.
23) Not the first time
Hamiltion is not the first time that Alexander Hamilton’s story appeared on stage. It also featured on the stage in 1917 as a play also titled Hamilton, written by Mary Hamlin.
24) Two years
Reportedly it took Miranda two years to write both of the opening numbers. Putting in a lot of time and effort to ensure that the two numbers were as good and sharp as they really could be.
25) Alexander Hamilton in The White House
Miranda showed just how proud he was of the opening number when he performed an early version of the song at The White House Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word. Using this opportunity to showcase the song.
26) Aaron Burr’s bedroom
Miranda visited the Morris-Junel Mansion where he completed the work on Wait For It and The Room Where It Happened sat in an armchair in Aaron Burr’s bedroom.
27) 114 words per minute
The entire run of the show sits at around three hours with only one 15 minute intermission. The show itself gets through around 20,000 words meaning that on average the cast says 144 words per minute!
28) Beyonce and Jay-Z performance
After getting sick on a ‘once in a year’ likelyhood, Beyonce and Jay-Z paid a visit to the show the one time that Lin was off and his understudy was on. When Lin caught wind of the special guests being in the audience he’s quoted as ‘ripping the IV out of my arm’ and making his way to the theatre!
29) $10 Bill
In addition to all of the amazing awards the cast of Hamiltion have won, did you know that the reason Alexander Hamiltion is still on the $10 bill is due to the success of the show?
30) A mixtape?
Miranda initally had smaller intentions for this project. First planning it out to be a concept album titled The Hamiltion Mixtape, he saw it as something that could be interactive but also educational at the same time.
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