Books, Movies & Music

7 Things to Do Before Watching Hamilton

Hamilton is undoubtedly one of the biggest shows in Broadway history. While it isn’t a traditional kid-friendly musical, countless children are loyal Hamilfans. When Disney announced that a filmed version of the stage show would debut on Disney+ on July 3, many families marked their calendars.

While it isn’t standard family fare, we have no doubt that families across the nation will love watching Hamilton together. However, if you go in cold, you might not be prepared to appreciate the musical fully. Whether you’re new to “Hamilton” or you already have the show memorized, our tips can help you prepare to watch it with your kids.

Decide Whether It Is Appropriate for Your Family

Hamilton includes swearing, sexual innuendo, infidelity, and violence. It’s currently unclear whether Disney+ plans to censor the language so that it fits in with the streaming channel’s wholesome focus, but some of the adult themes would be impossible to completely remove. There’s no nudity or gory fake blood, so it isn’t as graphic as many TV shows and movies. However, parents should decide for themselves whether they want to share Hamilton with their children.

Listen to the Cast Recording with Your Kids

If you decide that you will watch Hamilton with your family, you and your children may want to listen to the cast recording ahead of time. Listen for free on the “Hamilton” YouTube channel. You can currently stream it for free with your Amazon Prime subscription or check it out on Spotify.

Listening to the cast recording with your children can familiarize you both with the style and the plot. And if you’re not already familiar with Hamilton, the cast recording is a great opportunity to decide whether you’re interested in the show.

Go Over the Lyrics You or Your Kids Don’t Understand

Hamilton is full of rapid-fire lyrics and complex rhythms, so you might not understand all the words the first time you listen. If you don’t understand the lyrics, the plot may be difficult to follow. This could make watching the musical overwhelming.

Luckily, you don’t have to muddle through. Genius has the lyrics to all the songs from the cast recording. You can read through them when you have spare time or read along as you listen to the music. There’s also a huge bonus: annotations explain most of the passages, and some of these annotations were written or cosigned by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself.

Learn More About Alexander Hamilton’s Life

Alexander Hamilton was one of our most intriguing Founding Fathers, but many Americans know very little about him. While Hamilton is based on his life, there are a few variations from history. Studying the real man’s life with your children can make the plot easier to follow, give you a greater understanding of the birth of our nation, and help you spot where the musical deviates from history. Hamilton is based on “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, but if you don’t have the time or energy to read the book, HISTORY has an abbreviated biography.

Watch YouTube Videos

The “Hamilton” YouTube channel has tons of great videos to get you amped up to watch “Hamilton.” You’ll find fun content, including performances by fans and the cast.

Go Over Valuable Lessons from the Musical

Once you’re more familiar with the show, you can use it to teach your kids valuable lessons. The musical and Alexander Hamilton’s life story can teach your family about the value of hard work, the benefits and drawbacks of ambition, and the potential costs of holding grudges.

Prepare to Take Breaks or Rewatch

Hamilton is a lot to take in, and you probably won’t catch everything the first time you watch. There’s no shame in taking breaks to collect yourself or rewinding to try to catch things you missed. This can be especially helpful for children whose attention spans may not be as long.

Read our guide for more information on how to watch Hamilton at home. Want to take your Hamilton viewing party to the next level? Check out our article on colonial-era recipes to enjoy with Hamilton!

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