Hamilton on Disney Plus is the biggest streaming event of 2020 — here's why

watch Hamilton online on Disney Plus
(Image credit: Disney Plus)

It feels like I've been waiting to be in the room to watch Hamilton online forever. I've had this feeling since long before I even knew it was a thing, or that it was coming to Disney Plus. And I bet I'm not alone either.

Except that it was just back in 2016 (which still feels like a lifetime ago), when Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical biography of Alexander Hamilton owned the Tony's, with 11 awards. In those 4 years that followed, Hamilton was the hottest ticket on earth.

I've still never seen it, and while I constantly felt "right" with that call, the hype never died down. Multiple podcasts I listen to would often talk about how great the show is. I even tried to listen to the live audio recording of a Hamilton performance when it was posted on streaming services, but the disconnect of a lack of visuals immediately halted me. 

Hamilton is going from inaccessible to widely available

Even when shows stopped selling out so often, I still didn't buy in. That's because the cheapest seats to see Hamilton in New York ran $199, and that was too high for me. I've paid more for tickets to live events before, but that happened when I was already committed to a team or a pro wrestling promotion (I'd argue that pro wrestling is a lot like Hamilton, and South Park practically backed me up once). 

Which is why this Hamilton movie coming to Disney Plus on Friday (July 3) has become the most anticipated event of the year in streaming media. It's opening up the biggest stage show of a generation to one of the widest possible audiences: anybody with $7 and internet access.

In a summer without movie theaters, Hamilton sure feels like the closest thing we have to a big box office event.

Yes, while Hamilton's travelled throughout the world: from off-Broadway to Broadway, Chicago to San Francisco, Los Angeles to Seattle and even across the oceans to San Juan, Puerto Rico and London's West End — it's always been out of reach for those curious but not dedicated. We don't know if Disney will reveal how many people watch Hamilton this weekend, but I assume I'm not alone. 

Internationally, there are tons of folks who have needed to fly to see Hamilton, as it's never appeared in The Netherlands, its Germany (fall 2020) and Australia (2021) debuts are far in the future and Hamilton was only up and running in Canada for a short month or so before COVID-19 struck. 

Hamilton on Disney Plus' hype is real

Now, the whole world can see why Lin-Manuel Miranda became a household name, and it appears this filmed version is in good hands and done more-than-right. Stage director Thomas Kail helmed the adaptation (originally meant to hit theaters in October 2021), it's got the whole original Broadway cast as well. 

The engineering and production of Hamilton on Disney Plus, though, looks to be the best reason for all audiences — new and old — to make sure they've got a Disney Plus account. The adaptation mixes wide and close-up shots to create a film that 'goes beyond the "best seat in the house' to a more cinematic experience," according to CNN.

Which brings me to my slight trepidation about the Hamilton that I'm going to watch this weekend. Is there any way it can live up to 4+ years of hype? Have I simply been oversaturated by osmosis with Hamilton content? I can't wait to find out, and at the very least I'll finally be able to check "see Hamilton" off my to do list.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.