Beers & Skittles: Hamilton Singapore 2024: To Stream or Not to Stream?

Arriving all the way from America, the Tony Award-winning musical comes to the doorsteps of the Marina Bay Sands Theatre in Singapore. The run has extended until June as long-time fans from Asia clamour to purchase live tickets. After observing the currency exchange rate between Malaysia and Singapore, there comes the important question: to stream, or not to stream? Since 2020, the Hamilton professional recording has been released on Disney+, available for the general public to stream from the comfort of their homes. Comparing the price of a subscription to paying for a live show, which is more of a bang for your buck?


It’s easy to compare things based on first-hand experience. For scientific purposes, the Disney+ version was viewed 1 day before attending the 8 p.m. performance. Through a biased perspective, the live show definitely lives up to expectations and creates a unique understanding of what Lin-Manuel Miranda aimed to achieve through his writing.

Credits: Zhi Lin

The international cast of Hamilton was nothing short of fantastic. Despite performing Non-Stop since September 2023, the quality of their acting, dancing, and singing captivated the audience. Many of the cast members have been in other productions of Hamilton (such as the US National Tour, Australian Tour, and West End), which is a testament to their talent and skill.

Credits: Zhi Lin

To reference the show’s forefathers, the choreography and staging remain the same as originally on Broadway. Pictures of the set online may not blow all of us away, but they will stun you in person. For many fans who have followed Lin-Manuel Miranda’s projects for years, it’s an exhilarating experience to witness the intricate detailing of the brick walls and see THE turntable in person. Photographs and videos cannot capture the feeling of seeing the stage before you, awaiting the opening number.

Credits: Zhi Lin

If a carbon copy of a show is not to your taste, Wait For It. With different performers comes different takes and interpretations of characters, which is not to be missed. You may even get to see the understudies perform! That particular night, Eliza Hamilton was played by Zelia Rose instead of Rachelle Ann Go. Her distinct vocals created an enamouring scene, especially during her solos. Aaron Burr (Deaundre’ Woods) and George Washington (Darnell Abraham) allow the audience to Take A Break from the usual sounds heard in the original Broadway cast recording. They were not shy with changing the riffs at the end of their important solo songs, only adding to the amazement of their skills. Darnell Abraham’s voice was especially powerful, fitting for the role of the first President of the United States of America.

Alexander Hamilton (Jason Arrow) sounded almost exactly the same as Lin-Manuel Miranda in parts of the song. Angelica Schuyler (Akina Edmonds) stunned the crowd with her powerful singing. As the comedic relief, King George III (Brent Hill) applied his own spin on the character, receiving throaty laughs from the crowd.

The beauty of live theatre is that anything can happen, from a specific acting choice unique to the specific show you viewed, to tiny mistakes that the actors cover up so smoothly. Of course, not every show will be identical. It’s enjoyable to contrast the differences between the live performance and the forever-there recording. It is completely remarkable to see how the ensemble members frame the stage and fill out the gaps to incorporate depth into a scene. Between switching camera angles in a video, confronting the entire stage as a whole is something unfathomable. The ability of the ensemble is undeniable, as they are constantly on the stage dancing, moving props, and creating a rich sound. 

Credits: Zhi Lin

The combined effort of the orchestra and production team must also be recognised, aside from the entire cast on stage. Everyone is in sync with one another, telling The Story of Tonight. Without the production team, there would be no show to attend. If an instrument in the orchestra was missing, the backing track would feel incomplete and change the mood of the show. Lighting, sound, and effects are so important to flesh out a live performance. As everyone joins together, the outcome is breathtaking. Emoted feelings can be felt largely during big numbers, such as Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down), Washington On Your Side, and The Reynolds Pamphlet.

Hamilton: The Musical has reformulated the Broadway environment. There is a reason it has been nominated for an outstanding number of awards and won nearly all of them. Both the off-Broadway and on-Broadway productions dominated the award space. It still holds the record for most Tony Award nominations at a whopping 16, a title unbeaten nearly a decade later. 

While factoring in ticket pricing, travel fees, and hotel fees, a journey to Singapore is not cheap for a one-night experience. However, anyone who has experienced live theatre can tell you with certainty that You’ll Be Back. If this section of the article has convinced you, tickets for Hamilton are still available for performances between May and June 9th at the time of writing. Tickets begin at 80 SGD, and people comment that Grand Circle seats are worth the money. Do not throw away your shot!


The modern era has changed the way we consume entertainment. With a global pandemic having shifted live theatre from packed auditoriums to our living rooms, online streaming has become a necessity for theatre enthusiasts. Hamilton, the musical sensation by Lin-Manuel Miranda, was one of the prominent shows that made its way to online streaming platforms. It’s not every day that a blockbuster musical becomes accessible to the general public without the need for a pricey ticket, travel arrangements, and months-long waiting lists. However, watching Hamilton online comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. Let’s explore these aspects in detail.

The beautiful thing about watching Hamilton online is that you can do it from anywhere. It’s like having the magic of Broadway delivered right to your doorstep, minus the need to step foot in Singapore. The accessibility that comes with online streaming opens up a whole new world for theatre enthusiasts, especially those who can’t just hop on a subway or a plane to catch a show in Singapore.

Now, with just a few clicks, you can transport yourself into the world of 18th-century America, watching Alexander Hamilton rap his way through the American Revolution. It’s a cultural revolution of its own, breaking down barriers and inviting everyone to the party. Families who might not otherwise have access to the arts can now gather in their living rooms, building memories and bridging generations. It’s a chance to create your own opening night, no matter where you live.


Then there’s the economic factor. Let’s be real—seeing a show like Hamilton in person can be pricey. Ticket prices can make your wallet wince, and that’s before you even consider travel costs, hotel stays, and eating out. By the time you’ve added it all up, you could buy yourself a pretty sweet new gadget or fund a small vacation. But when Hamilton hits a streaming platform like Disney+, you get to watch it without emptying your bank account. It’s like a buy-one-get-everything deal. You subscribe, and suddenly you have access to a whole world of entertainment, including that elusive ticket to Hamilton. It’s not just a show—it’s an investment in joy.

Another cool thing about watching online is the flexibility it offers. The show starts when you say it starts. Feel like watching it at 3 a.m.? No problem. Need to pause to take care of the pets or grab a snack? Go for it. This kind of freedom is a dream come true for anyone who’s ever had to sit through a three-hour show with a growling stomach or a full bladder. You can hit pause, make yourself a sandwich, and come back without missing a beat. Plus, you can rewatch your favourite scenes as many times as you like. Want to hear King George III sing about how you’ll be back again? You can. And again. And again. It’s a chance to binge-watch Broadway, which, let’s face it, is every theatre geek’s dream.


It’s a whole new way to experience theatre—one that’s flexible, cost-effective, and accessible. While it can’t fully replicate the ambiance of a live performance, it brings the magic of Broadway to a wider audience, allowing more people to enjoy the show on their own terms. Whether you’re in your living room, in your pyjamas, or hosting a watch party with friends, you can have a great time watching Hamilton from the comfort of your own home. It might not be Broadway, but it’s the next best thing—and for many people, that’s more than enough to be satisfied.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and curtain calls. Streaming at home has its drawbacks. Let’s talk about technical difficulties. You know that moment when you’re deep into a crucial scene, and suddenly your internet connection decides to take a coffee break? Buffering is the ultimate buzzkill, turning the climactic duel into a stop-and-start disaster. The quality of the sound and visuals can vary depending on your setup, which means not everyone gets the same immersive experience. Some people have home theatres that rival small cinemas, while others are watching on laptops or tablets, which isn’t quite the same.


And then there are the distractions. At a theatre, it’s just you, the stage, and a whole bunch of strangers who paid just as much as you did to be there. At the theatre, everyone’s focused on the stage, and the outside world fades away. Distractions are kept to a minimum. But at home? All bets are off. Pets jump on your lap, your phone rings with an important call, your siblings might start reenacting their own version of the show, complete with costumes made from bed sheets playing with their toys, or your family decides now is the perfect time to ask what you want for dinner. It’s hard to stay in the zone when there’s so much going on around you. You need a level of focus that rivals a Jedi mastering the Force. You will never be satisfied.

There’s something electric about live theatre. The lights go down, and the buzz in the crowd is palpable—you know, that kind of buzz that makes your skin tingle with anticipation. It’s as if the entire audience is taking a collective breath, waiting for the curtain to rise and the magic to start. Watching Hamilton online, while super convenient, can’t quite capture that spark. You don’t get the same shiver of excitement when you’re sitting on your couch in sweatpants, popcorn in one hand, and your phone in the other. It’s like watching a fireworks display on YouTube. Sure, it’s still pretty cool, but it doesn’t make your heart race the way it does when you’re right there, feeling the heat and hearing the booms. 

In the theatre, the energy is almost tangible. It’s a vibe that sweeps over the entire audience, drawing you into the world on stage. When Alexander Hamilton strides onto the scene, you feel his charisma. The collective reactions of hundreds of people—whether it’s laughter at a clever line or the hush of a poignant moment—add to the atmosphere. It’s a give-and-take between the performers and the crowd, like a dance where everyone is in sync. Try to recreate that at home, and you might end up clapping alone in your living room, which is a little awkward, especially if you live in an apartment with thin walls.


The intermission during a live show is an event in itself. People are buzzing with excitement, discussing their favourite moments, grabbing drinks, and meeting new friends. It’s a communal experience where strangers become temporary allies in the quest for the perfect night out. But when you’re watching at home, intermission is just a trip to the fridge, maybe with a pit stop at the bathroom. There’s no mingling, no shared stories, and no chance to overhear someone passionately defending their favourite character. It’s like going from a vibrant party to a solo snack break.

And then there are the technical issues and distractions that come with streaming. You know the drill. You’re deep into “The Room Where It Happens,”  and suddenly, the dreaded spinning circle of buffering appears. It’s like being yanked out of the theatre and thrown into tech support mode. Meanwhile, the sound quality might vary depending on your setup. If you’ve got a fancy home theatre system, you’re in luck. But if you’re watching on your laptop with tinny speakers, well, it’s just not the same as hearing the orchestra fill the theatre with rich, resonant sound. It’s like comparing a carefully crafted symphony to someone playing music through a cheap Bluetooth speaker. Both get the job done, but one is a lot more immersive than the other.


Despite these drawbacks, streaming Hamilton at home does have its perks. It’s super convenient, and you can watch it in your pyjamas, which, let’s be honest, is a major win. Plus, you can pause, rewind, and replay your favourite moments without annoying the people sitting next to you. But even with these benefits, it’s hard to deny that live theatre has a magic that’s tough to replicate on a screen. It’s like comparing a vibrant painting to a photocopy—both show the same scene, but one has an energy and depth that the other just can’t match.


Many theatre fans are aware of the existence of “bootlegs,”  creatively named after the illegal distribution of alcohol during the Prohibition Era of America. The name is no mistake, as “bootlegs” are the illegal distribution of recorded shows. Other monikers include “slime tutorial”, or a nonsensical title describing the events of the musical or play.

As such, ushers and websites will repeat a “No photography or video/audio recordings during the performance” policy. The reasoning behind the rule is understandable, as devices raised up high may disrupt the view of fellow audience members. Even with the regulation in place, individuals find ways to record shows whether they are successful or not.


Once again, the query of to stream or not to stream rises up.


Bootlegs, in a sense, are archival footage. Though the audio and video quality may be low, the pixelated clips may display a show that has closed down for a long time. It may contain fun mistakes that enhance the specific show, or showcase an understudy’s performance. By searching hard enough, audio recordings from original productions of Hello, Dolly! and Funny Girl can be dated back to the 1960s. Musicals from the ‘80s may be found on VHS tapes. It is an artefact of Broadway history, acting as a relic of the past. If people can discover vintage make-up and paints, why not recordings of Broadway productions?

With modern-day technology, some shows are lucky enough to receive a pro-shot, or professional recording. However, due to budget constraints, some find it unprofitable to record (which is why bootlegs are widely enjoyed by fans). Even if musicals have their own pro-shot, it may not be released to the public for a variety of reasons. Currently, popular pro-shots include Hamilton, the MTV recording of Legally Blonde, Newsies, and Phantom of the Opera. It has only added to the popularity of the shows due to their accessibility.

By releasing footage of a production, legally or illegally, it provides accessibility for a wide range of individuals. Fans may not be able to attend live performances due to monetary restrictions or location issues. So far, all of these factors seem positive, so why is the industry so against pro-shots?


Many acclaim it to the sanctity of a Broadway performance. People pay good money to be seated in the front row to watch their favourite show. It is understandable that having a device out can disrupt the flow of the show. Concerts are allowed to be filmed, but individuals are not unfamiliar with the experience of having someone completely block your view because they were recording. A staged experience is meant to reel you in and capture your attention, but it can easily be stolen away by a disorderly arm sticking up in the middle of the audience. 

Others say it is disrespectful to actors. Many performers dislike bootlegs as they believe it hurts their performance. There have been many situations where an actor personally calls out a bootlegger, breaks the fourth wall, and interrupts the performance. Whether it is the fault of the actor or bootlegger varies based on personal opinions. In the event of a professional recording, the industry claims that it would hurt the box office and affect sales revenue. It is also a concern about how an union-sanctioned distribution would function between actors, regarding royalties to be paid. Releasing the footage would also involve intellectual property issues.

Another factor may be how some theatre shows are not designed to be filmed. The choreographers are not thinking of how it translates on a screen, but of a wide stage, and how someone from the cheapest and furthest seat can witness the show. A bootleg recording may not bring across acting choices or staging designs that can only be witnessed in person.


Some affirm that sales will decrease, along with the overall number of attendees in the theatre. However, an indie production on YouTube goes against these claims.


Team Starkid was formed in 2009 by a group of college friends performing a self-written musical parody of “Harry Potter”. From then on, they grew into more of a phenomenon because of their lovable cast, excellent songwriting, and comedic ability. They have produced 13 full length musicals, and are set to produce their 14th show, “Cinderella’s Castle”.

Despite releasing full, high-quality shots of all of their shows online, they have only experienced an increase in popularity as well as an increase in budget for their shows. Their recent Kickstarter campaign received over 500k USD, more than half of their initial goal. 


The production company still performs their shows live (and recently toured to the London Palladium). They have designated recording days for their performances and usually release the professional shot several months after the initial premiere for their non-paying subscribers. Individuals can choose to pay for a “digital ticket” to see the show before the official release. Previously paywalled initiatives, such as their short film “Workin’ Boys”, has also recently become free to watch.

Their approach to theatre production is the backbone of their strong fanbase, many whom have been following them since the first few recordings with shaky cameras. Broadway industry professionals may be able to take inspiration from some of their business practices, as many fans of live theatre claim that an online recording only enhances their live experience.


In the end, watching Hamilton online is a different experience—not necessarily a worse one, but definitely different. It’s a great way to enjoy the show without the travel and cost of a theatre trip, but it lacks the communal excitement and immersive atmosphere of a live performance. Whether you’re a die-hard theatre fan or a casual viewer, there’s something to be said for both experiences. But if you ever get the chance to see Hamilton live, take it—it’s a ride you won’t forget. And if you’re watching online, just make sure your internet connection is solid and your distractions are minimal, because you don’t want to miss a single second of the magic.

Written By: Zhi Lin, Tisyha

Edited By: Ruby

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