Coming to PBS’ Great Performances tomorrow, Friday, October 21: HAMILTON’S AMERICA
Alex Horwitz’s behind-the-scenes look at the acclaimed musical debuted at the New York Film Festival earlier this month.
There’s no denying that HAMILTON has resonated with audiences, critics, and cultural gatekeepers, bestowing the show and its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, with multiple Tony awards, as well as a Grammy and the Pulitzer Prize. Horwitz reveals both the inspiration behind and the impact of the show, drawing on footage of Miranda as he develops his groundbreaking musical starting more than two years before its debut at The Public Theater, and following his efforts as it came together, originally inspired by a random vacation read of a biography of Alexander Hamilton. Interwoven with this behind-the-scenes creative process is more recent, but very manufactured-feeling, footage of cast members exploring some of the history behind the show in visits to places like Valley Forge and Mt Vernon, as well as commentary from admirers like Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Sondheim, and even George W Bush and Elizabeth Warren. Plus, of course, a meeting with President Obama, who famously hosted Miranda when he performed the very first rap number from the show, a performance that went viral. For fans of the show or its soundtrack, Horwitz’s uncritical tribute will be much appreciated; but for those who don’t understand the hype, don’t care for musicals, or just don’t see HAMILTON as the second coming, little here will be convincing.