How 1 ‘Hamilton’ Star Hopes the Tony-Winning Musical Compares to the MCU

First, Disney+ landed the first live-action Star Wars show. Now the streaming service has brought a bonafide cultural phenomenon directly into subscribers’ homes. Hamilton captures the original Broadway cast of the Tony-winning musical. But one star of the show hopes it can achieve something even greater, likening it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Christopher Jackson, Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda
Christopher Jackson, Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda | Bruce Glikas/WireImage

‘Hamilton’ has proven to be a cultural phenomenon

When Hamilton hit the Broadway stage in 2015, no one knew what to expect. The show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, had a previous hit — In the Heights — under his belt. But a hip-hop-inspired musical about the Founding Fathers definitely didn’t seem like a sure thing.

Yet, not only did Hamilton become a hit, the show’s reach went way further than just theater aficionados. Before long, Miranda’s pet project — subtitled An American Musical — was breaking records and scooping up awards. Even mainstream audiences fell for the instantly iconic music.

From that perspective, Disney’s decision to pay $75 million for the rights to the Hamilton movie makes a lot of sense. Although a more straightforward film adaptation seems inevitable, the Disney+ filmed stage performance gives countless viewers their only chance to see the original cast.

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Christopher Jackson believes its legacy could impact Hollywood

Christopher Jackson — who originated the role of George Washington in Hamilton — joins his former castmates in the Disney+ film. But the actor told the Irish Examiner he hopes the excitement around Hamilton helps perpetuate the current upswing of movie musicals.

As with all things in this industry, there’s an ebb and flow there, things can sort of run in seasons. I think we can go back and forth between the audience dictating what needs to be made, and the filmmaker saying: “You know what? This is a great idea. Let’s run with it.”

I’ve never been a great comic book fan, but I’ve seen all the Marvel movies because they’re entertaining. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re there for. I hope that there continues to be a platform for the movie musical and I hope that the genre itself can continue to grow.

Just as the MCU has kept superheroes thriving amid declining comics sales, so too can movie musicals keep audiences satisfied. Even in the best of circumstances, only a fraction of those who want to see a Broadway show are able to do so live. Movies have a far wider reach and, as is the case with Hamilton, can inspire an even broader love for the material.

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A response like that to the MCU could inspire more movie musicals

In recent years, Mamma Mia, La La Land, and The Greatest Showman have proven the enduring power of the movie musical. And that becomes only more apparent if we also consider animation. Jackson himself even lent his talent as the singing voice of Chief Tui in Disney’s Moana.

So with Hamilton and a few others lighting the way, perhaps movie musicals — like superheroes — can stay relevant for the foreseeable future. Miranda’s own In the Heights, for instance, is heading to a theater in 2021. As for Hamilton, we don’t imagine fans will throw away their shot at seeing the show again on the big screen.