Whether you were willing to wait for it or not, you’ll no longer have to after today: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s revolutionary, Tony Award-winning Broadway musical blockbuster Hamilton is now out on Disney+. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the weekend than by hosting a virtual Hamilton watch party, so here’s everything you need to do to make sure your fellow #Ham4Ham fans are satisfied, from choosing the right co-viewing browser extension to sharing access to some fun bonus materials.
What time is Hamilton coming to Disney+ in Australia?
Folks, the wait is over. As of 5pm AEST, Hamilton’s now ready to be streamed on Disney+. If you haven’t had a chance to look at the trailer already, have a look now so you can get very excited.
Find the perfect virtual venue
Pandemic Living means your watch party will — should — probably be a socially distanced affair, but luckily there are a number of browser extensions that make it possible for you to bring all of your guests into the room where it happens.
You probably heard the buzz about Netflix Party in the early days of Corona Times. It’s a Chrome browser extension that, once installed and enabled by all, er, parties, allows multiple people to watch the same Netflix video at once — and even text chat with each other in a sidebar during the show. By now there are a myriad of options that work with other services as well — including Disney+.
Here are a few of your options (and note that for all of them, everyone who’s coming to the party will need to both install the extension and be able to log in to a Disney+ account):
- Disney Plus Party: Hey, if it worked for Netflix … Disney Plus Party is a robust extension that adds a real social element to your virtual watch party — the extension allows you to host both public and private screening rooms, so you can sync up your Disney+ video with either your friends or complete strangers, and text chat or DM with them throughout the show.
- Vemos: We’ve written about this one before. Vemos is a Chrome browser extension that works with Disney+ as well as Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and Hulu. In addition to text chat, Vemos also includes the option to incorporate video chat with your fellow viewers, which will be helpful when you’ve got to fill in the plot details for the guy who takes a potty break and comes back asking, “What’d I miss?” (It also sounds like a great opportunity for a sing-along. Who could say no to this?)
- TwoSeven: Available for both Chrome and Firefox, this extension works pretty much like the rest of them. All viewers will need to install it (a requirement worth mentioning one last time, if only to spare you tech-related headaches at showtime), but you’ll all also need to create a free TwoSeven account in order to host or join a room, and everyone will need to log in to their own Disney+ accounts. TwoSeven isn’t quite as user-friendly as some of your other options, but it works well once you’re up and running — and also includes both text and video chat options.
Make sure everyone has Disney+
First, the bad news: While most streaming services offer a free trial period of a few weeks or a month, Disney+ recently ended its free trial offer for new subscribers.
That said, at $9 for the standard monthly plan and $90 for an annual subscription, it’s not really a bad deal — and if you only really only want to watch Hamilton, you can always cancel after the first month. Sign up here if you’re keen. (Disney is betting you’ll be back, though — that’s why they’re throwing this $US75 ($108) million acquisition up on the streaming service in the first place.)
Oh, and you can also share accounts — each Disney+ account can have up to seven different profiles and four concurrent logins, so if you’re keeping the affair intimate, you might be all set with a single subscription (for now — the Mouse has threatened to crack down on password sharing in the future).
Go behind the scenes
There’s no reason your Hamilton party has to end with the curtain call. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece is a great way to get anyone excited about history — especially kids — and there is a bevy of behind-the-scenes material online that explores both the making of the musical and the real world figures who feature in it. Why not share these links in your watch party’s text chat, whether to get everyone hype or help the post-show discussion stay alive? (I’ve also included a few tangentially related goodies.)
- “Hamilton’s America”: PBS has assembled a wealth of material that dives into Hamilton, both the man and the show, in this series of 10 short videos examining different facets of the life and times of the titular figure. You can view all of them on the PBS website. (Australians may need the use of a VPN to access this content.)
- Lin-Manuel Miranda performs at the White House: Hamilton’s writer/composer/lyricist worked on the production for years — originally envisioning it as a concept album — and he gave the world its first taste of what was to come in 2009 when he performed “The Hamilton Mixtape” at a White House Poetry Jam (of course President Obama hosted White House poetry jams). You can see the video of that performance on YouTube; even in this nascent form, you’ll be helpless to resist.
- The In the Heights trailer: The big-screen version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-Hamilton musical In the Heights was supposed to be opening this summer but was pushed back due to the pandemic. Why not start your party off by having everyone watch its irresistible trailer on YouTube? It’ll get you in the mood for Miranda’s music and prime your tear ducts for the feature presentation.
- Sing along to 1776: The other revolutionary musical, 1969 Broadway hit 1776 acts as a sort of prequel to Hamilton, covering historical events that mostly occur before Miranda’s work begins. One of its songs — most of which are available on YouTube, pulled from the 1972 film adaptation — would make a great lead-in as well, if only so your guests can marvel at how differently the two shows approach history, not to mention Broadway (luckily, the world was wide enough for two musicals about America’s founding). I suggest the opening number, “Sit Down, John,” which is actually name-checked in Miranda’s lyrics.
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