On July 3rd, we the people will finally have access via Disney+ to one of the biggest shows to hit Broadway in its long history…..HAMILTON. Filmed at the Richard Rogers theater in NYC, this “movie” will feature the original cast in this historic show, including its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in the title role.
Now, I could spend all day writing about why this show is a must-watch, but we don’t have that kind of time. All I’ll say is this. Right here, right now in 2020 is a more perfect time than ever to see the show that emphatically claims, “this is not a moment, it’s a movement.” To see George Washington played by Christopher Jackson, a Black man, and listen to him sing about how “History Has Its Eyes on You.” To see Alexander Hamilton take on Thomas Jefferson in a rap battle and challenge him for owning over 200 slaves who plant his crops back at Monticello while he hangs out in France. To realize that the entire American Revolution was a complicated beast pulled off by flawed, imperfect men AND WOMEN who realized that history demanded that “every action is an act of creation” and got to work.
Now more than ever, we need to be asking ourselves the big question that Hamilton leaves us with…..“who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”
But before you gather the kiddos around, pop the popcorn, and start the family viewing of Hamilton, I’m here as a self-professed expert to tell you a few content concerns parents will want to be aware of in advance. I’ve seen the show live three times and have the soundtrack memorized, so I promise…..I’ve got your back!
Content Concerns for Parents in Hamilton on Disney+
PG-13 Rating (after edits)
Hamilton on Disney+ will come with a PG-13 rating, and that’s after quite a few edits. Lin-Manuel Miranda has tweeted that they dropped a couple “f-words” to obtain the rating. Parents, you might want to watch it on your own (especially if you are unfamiliar with the show) first before you invite the kiddos to join.
Let’s get into some more details, shall we?
In the very first ten seconds, you’ll hear the first round of strong language. In fact, Aaron Burr’s favorite way to refer to the “ten dollar founding father” is as a “b—–d, orphan, son of a wh–e” and it does it a few times throughout the show.
The f-word is used several times in the original show and though they have been edited out (literally with a “record-scratch” sound) for the Disney+ version, any savvy kid will know what word was supposed to go there. Speaking of censored f-words, “The Adams Administration” and “Say No to This” already censor the f-word for comedic effect in a rather grand manner. “The Adams Administration” also features Hamilton calling President Adams a “b—–d” and “Say No to This” also has a quick g-d moment that’s sort of blink and you’ll miss it, but just be aware of it! There is a BIG g-d moment in “Cabinet Battle #2” as well.
The biggest language concern comes in “Washington on Your Side” when Burr, Madison, and Jefferson decide the Federalists need to know just who they’re up against…….”southern mother-f_____ing Democratic Republicans.” Now, this word will be record-scratched out in the Disney+ show, but it’s suuuuuper obvious what they said!
There are a few other strong language moments in the show as well, but I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts that most will be easily censored out like they are in the clean version of the soundtrack and some rather crude/suggestive language moments aren’t exactly swearing, but paint a pretty crude picture just the same. For example, at one point Hamilton tells Jefferson to bend over so he can “show you where my shoe fits.”
Alexander Hamilton famously had an affair and the seduction scene and confrontation with her are staged in the song “Say No to This.” When we listen to the soundtrack with our younger kids, we tend to just skip over this song, so that’s a viable option. Also, in the song “Aaron Burr, Sr.” the Sons of Liberty each have a little section of introduction and our friend Hercules Mulligan has a rather racy rap section about corsets, horses, and ….. sex. So, keep that in mind.
In “Cabinet Battle #1,” Alexander Hamilton makes a brief reference to marijuana use and there is a brief moment in the opening song of the show where suicide is referenced and the actor on stage will stand on a chair and pantomime a hanging.
Finally, be ready for “The Reynolds Pamphlet.” This song is the victory lap for Hamilton’s enemies after the news breaks about Hamilton’s affair and every time I’ve seen it staged, the actors make sure to taunt both Hamilton and his son by using their body actions to make darn sure everyone knows EXACTLY what Hamilton did to bring this shame upon himself.
Now, this spoiler is along the lines of telling you that the ship sinks in Titanic, so I hope I’m not ruining the show for anyone. Alexander Hamilton dies in a duel with Aaron Burr so there are guns and the firing of guns on stage. In fact, we know from history that Hamilton’s son Phillip also dies in a duel and this scene is a doozy in Act 2. Like, have the Kleenex ready, mamas.
In summary, I’m not exaggerating when I say that seeing this show with my son is one of the memories he and I will cherish for our entire lives. Not only is the artistry of Hamilton mind-blowing, but the conversations it creates are invaluable.
And I would be willing to bet you’ll give yourself a pretty righteous fist bump the first time you’re able to nail “Guns and Ships” without looking at the words! I’ll be here cheering you on when you do.