So i saw the show last year. A touring edition and just saw the Disney version.
Now its entirely possible they were exactly the same and I’m misremembering but some subtle differences seem to exist. I’ll list them in order of likely to i probably am just misremembering and maybe an expert can set the record straight:
“You’re never gonna be President now!!”…in the show I saw, that definitely was more pronounced for humor, whereas in the Disney version it got lost a little in the music.
I’m pretty sure the touring Hamilton actor sang straightforwards and let the words carry the message as opposed to Lin-Manuels “crying while singing”. Which doesnt happen often, but for me, enough that I was a little distracted.
I don’t remember King George staying on stage after his third song, but he certainly could have.
I could sweeeeear…during “Unimaginable” that Eliza is more involved in the reconciliation. That she had more of the song. That…in the song…she put aside her anger over the adultery to help pull Hamilton back together and themselves back together.
Where in the TV version it was almost ALL Hamilton begging her…but I could be wrong.
I’ve seen the San Francisco touring version a bunch of times, and he definitely does in that. I saw it over a period of a year, and I swear that the “Your Obedient Servant” was done differently over that time.
Haven’t seen the Disney+ version so I don’t know if it changed from the original. I’m sure they tweak it, though.
I’m not sure what you mean about Eliza being involved in the reconciliation. She takes Hamilton’s hand, it is that it?
The thing about live theatre is that every performance is going to be slightly different from every other, even those with the same cast. When you start having different actors, like additions/replacements in the original production, or completely different productions in other theatres or on tour, every actor is going to bring a different take to their character. No actor wants to just “copy” exactly the way another actor played a role.
So, to your questions - I’ve seen three performances of Hamilton in Chicago and one on tour, in addition to the film.
The “never gonna be President now” audio, I don’t think, isn’t mixed very well in the movie - there were moments in a couple of other songs where I thought the same thing, that lead vocals got buried in the mix with background vocals and it all got muddy. That might have had something to do with your comment here (in Chicago the King George definitely got laughs during that with some pretty hilarious shimmies).
In all the shows I recall, King George does indeed hang around on stage to taunt Hamilton during “The Reynolds Pamphlet,” but there’s different degrees of how much attention the King brings to himself (Groff’s showiness of having the stool moved for him in the movie is probably played the broadest moment at that point of the shows I’ve seen, but as I mentioned the Chicago King really had fun dancing and tossing the pamphlets about).
Lin-Manuel Miranda is freakishly talented as a creator of musicals, but he’s a good (not great) actor and only a passable singer who’d probably never play the role of Hamilton if he hadn’t written the whole damn thing (I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve to play it, he wrote the show, he can do whatever he wants!). He does sound rather tearful and choked-up singing the part, while Miguel Cervantes (who I saw in Chicago and was just taking over the role on Broadway when COVID hit) was far more subtle - he had a stronger, clearer singing voice that could still make us feel the emotion of the tragic scenes without the excess weepiness Miranda chose.
I don’t know what to say about the movie version of “It’s Quiet Uptown” being different from the stage versions - I’m typically bawling my eyes out at that point anyway. The move of Eliza taking Hamilton’s hand is a key part of the show, and it’s always there in every production. Again, every actor is going to make different choices in how they play a scene, some subtle and some stronger, so maybe that’s what you saw. I do think that’s where Miranda’s singing in the movie got goopiest, maybe that had something to do with it, too.
(We saw Cervantes perform as Hamilton not too long after his 3-year-old daughter tragically died last October - I can’t imagine the emotional strength it took for him to get through “It’s Quiet Uptown” after that.)
I saw the New York production with the OG cast (but it was a Sunday, so no Lin-Manuel ) and I saw the Chicago production multiple times. I also have watched the D+ recording twice now. As an important note, the D+ recording was a recording of the standard show…aside from placing cameras in the theater it’s exactly the same as every other NYC performance, excepting the natural variations humans might have when redoing something.
There were definite differences between the NYC and Chicago shows, but the music is the same and the participants in the scenes are the same in all productions. That’s just not something the actors or, more importantly the director, would be allowed to change. First because Lin-Manuel is producing them all and second because the union wouldn’t allow it. Changes like this require explicit permission from the rights holder and I highly doubt Lin-Manuel wants that. It’s his baby.
What IS different is the stuff that an individual director has control over, specifically things that are NOT in the script/lyrics and the stage direction. The choreography will vary. It’ll be the same characters, per the stage direction, but the cues may vary a little. The proximity of characters to each other and the audience can vary. The dancing can get “bigger” and the emotiveness can vary. The lightning can vary.
It’s true that some actors playing Hamilton will intentionally have different intonations for their songs, and some will have more or less of the weepy emotiveness that Lin-Manuel uses. Even Javier Munoz’ alternate version of Hamilton in the OG production was a bit more singing and little less emoting. But in most cases, this will be really subtle compared to the directorial changes.
Some obvious changes between the NYC and the Chicago productions that were clearly direction choices were: in the bar room scenes for both My Shot and The Story of Tonight the choreography is way more boisterous in Chicago, it much more of a drunken party; in the scene for Say No To This the seduction is a straight-up lap dance in the Chicago production, way more salacious and lusty than the staid NYC production; and in The World Was Wide Enough Burr’s parts are performed a little more frantic and terrified in Chicago. But, the changes are all in tone, nothing was materially different.
I saw Javier Muñoz perform the lead in New York, and I thought he was fantastic. OTOH, I just got around to watching the Disney version last night, and I was really surprised by how weak Miranda’s singing was, though that might have been a mix problem.
I think there’s a …naiveness to Alexander Hamilton that works well with Miranda. Where a more operatic actor might try to play Hamilton as the hero of the story. Everyone is the hero of their own story but its not Alex telling the story.
Just saw D+ version, my first time at all, and all the OP’s points came across loud and clear.
And I loved it. Even with the crying and the less-than-perfect voice, Miranda did a great job. And what struck me from the beginning is that everyone on stage was having a blast. And really liked each other. Made it fun to watch.