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What Parents Should Know About Hamilton | Parents' Guide

Hamilton Is a Family-Friendly Musical, but There Are a Few Things to Know Before Watching

HAMILTON, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, 2020.  Disney+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

If you couldn't nab Hamilton tickets during the original run of the show, don't waste your shot to stream it now. Lin-Manuel Miranda's masterpiece about the $10-dollar founding father has finally hit Disney+. The taped version of Hamilton features the original cast, including Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo, and more, all in their electrifying musical theatre production glory! But while you may go ham for Hamilton, how appropriate is it for your kids? We've put together a little guide on what parents should know before hitting play.

  1. The PG-13 rating is spot on.
    The show feels geared towards older kids (tweens and up), not only for its mature content but also for the complicated ideas and historical frameworks present. It helps if your kid knows a thing or two about the American Revolution and Constitution. If not, they may still be in for an enjoyable and informative ride.
  2. It's long.
    The movie run is two hours and 40 minutes, as it's a recording of an actual production. That said, the music is catchy (obviously), and each number feels quickly paced. Plus, it's funny, so while it's not a conventional summer blockbuster, your child probably won't grow bored.
  3. There's violence, but it's not grisly.
    Hamilton starts around the time of the American Revolution, so you'll see weapons and instances of wartime violence. And you can certainly expect that notorious duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. People get shot throughout the show. It's all portrayed through music and dance, though, so there's nothing morbid. There's also a notable reference to suicide early in the musical.
  4. Hamilton has references to sex and adultery.
    Hamilton and Burr both talk about their affairs, and Hamilton's is actually a key point in the plot. The "Say No to This" number is actually a little racy, but doesn't get obscene. There are also suggestive references to "deflowering" women and stripping down to socks.
  5. Expect as much cussing as you'd hear in a PG-13 movie.
    The language isn't sordid, but you'll hear colourful gems such as sh*t, wh*re, damn, bastard, hell, ass, and more. Two F-bombs from the original musical have been omitted — there's a mute over "I get the f*ck back up again" in "Yorktown" and a record scratch over "Southern motherf*cking Democratic Republicans!" in "Washington on Your Side." There's also a "fuhh" (no hard "ck" sound) in "Say No to This" and a bleeped-out "motherf*cker" in "The Adams Administration."
  6. You'll see drinking.
    The founding fathers drink throughout the show.
  7. Hamilton offers meaningful representation.
    It creates space for Black and Brown actors to portray the people who found America — and that's not only men, for the record. Hamilton also presents history in a way where it raises issues such as slavery, women's rights, and immigration. We're reminded repeatedly that Hamilton himself is an immigrant who built this country.
  8. There's an intermission. There's a break in the show one hour and 15 minutes in, but it's only a minute long. You might want to hit pause for those bathroom breaks.

Whether or not you decide to watch Hamilton with your little one, it's definitely still worth seeing a premium theatre production from the comfort of your home — you'll laugh, cry, and come out with a deeper curiosity for American history.

Image Source: Everett Collection
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