July 2, 2020
A new live musical is coming to Disney+. It’s Hamilton, the Broadway show that premiered in 2015. The show is about Alexander Hamilton, the first treasury secretary of the United States. It begins with Hamilton’s arrival in New York from Nevis, a small island in the Caribbean. It follows him through the Revolutionary War and his political rise. The musical uses rap, hip-hop, and R&B to tell the story of America’s first years as a country.
Chris Jackson (pictured, left) plays George Washington, America’s first president. “When we think about our Founding Fathers, we think about those antique portraits and the old guys on our currency,” Jackson told TIME for Kids. But the actors who play the Founding Fathers in Hamilton are people of color. Jackson says Hamilton was intended to breathe life into these historical figures while telling “the story of yesterday, by Americans now.”
The producers of Hamilton had planned to release this live recording of the show next year. But after the coronavirus pandemic hit, they decided to release it on July 3, just ahead of Independence Day, so people can watch while stuck at home. Jackson hopes it will help kids of color see themselves in the story of America. “To know they’re just as capable of moving the ball, of furthering the idea of what America is supposed to be,” he says. “It didn’t include us back then, but we’re a fulfillment of what that dream is.”