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Compared to the Disney Plus version, Hamilton Live Hits Different

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Once it was released on July 3, 2020 on Disney Plus, “Hamilton” had many people, including me, in a chokehold. I’m not your typical musical enthusiast, but being stuck inside and having something new to watch created the perfect storm for me to be singing the tune of “the bastard, orphan, son of a whore,” Alexander Hamilton. So when teen journalists at VOX ATL got the opportunity to experience “Hamilton” live, I was over the moon. But, with a slight worry, how will I sit through a two hour long musical with no meal, no phone, and glued to a seat?

The Theater Experience 

Although I embarrassingly found myself needing closed captions for portions of the show, the experience of live theater was immaculate. The acoustics of the Fox Theater allowed for each cast member’s voice and their harmonies to be enunciated (even in the wings) in a way my TV speaker couldn’t.

Taylor Bentham, a teen at Grayson High School, perfectly put into words how Hamilton at the FOX theater felt. “In the theater, I was so much more immersed in it,” said Bentham. “I felt every emotion.” However, like with any live show, there is always a chance for technical difficulties.

Katharine Markiewicz, a VOX teen who saw the show on a different night, experienced some issues with the sound quality and couldn’t make out some of the words. Never seeing the recorded version on Disney Plus, Katharine still raved about their experience. “I’ve always been a fan of the music but I’ve never seen it before this,” said Markiewicz. “I really really enjoyed it. I appreciated the diversity in the cast. I prefer it in person, the quality could’ve been a bit better especially during the first act… but because of the acting it brings what they’re singing to life.” 

The Live Soundtrack 

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Hearing “Hamilton” live was like experiencing the live album version of Beyonce’s Coachella performance. It was absolutely incredible. Throughout their performances, you can tell that the actors didn’t just take the music and just regurgitate it back to the crowd. They brilliantly took the time to put their own heart,  personality, and interpretation of their character into the music.  I really noticed this when I was listening to my favorite song on the soundtrack,  “Satisfied,” sung by Angelica Schuyler played by Lencia Kebede. I’ve listened to the song thousands of times, but none of the listens compare to the version Kebede belted out in the theater. Throughout the song I heard her adding her own uniqueness. She was adding different riffs, inflecting her voice in different spots, and hitting higher notes.  I found myself wanting to record her just so that I could keep that version forever. 

I think that that was the beauty of experiencing this music live. You have the opportunity to hear somebody else’s interpretation of  the character, while they still maintain the heart and foundation of the music. If you’re finding yourself saying “I don’t need to experience the live theater version because I have the music on YouTube,” that should be your last reason for not going because experiencing “Hamilton” live is worth it. Even if you have attention issues, the actors and the music keeps you immersed in the story and you will feel like you were in the room where it happens. 

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