“Hamilton’s America” Is a Must-See Doc

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Samantha Winn, Co-Writing Editor

If you haven’t heard about Alexander Hamilton within the past year and a half, you must be living under a rock.

 

However, “Hamilton’s America,” a new PBS documentary about the smash Broadway hit musical, will catch you up to speed.

 

“Hamilton’s America” tells the story behind the story. In the musical, Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers writes his way out of his orphaned poverty in the Caribbean to eventually becoming Secretary of Treasury for President George Washington. With quarrels over the structure of the Constitution at risk, key American founders all tell the story of his legacy and work.

 

This documentary takes it a step further. In addition to telling Hamilton’s compelling rags-to-riches story, it explores writer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s journey to creating this show. He originally found the story leaping to him after reading Ron Chernow’s biography on Hamilton.

 

From there, years of research (about six years worth) was done in order to create a historically accurate rap musical. Starting off-Broadway at the Public Theatre and then transitioning to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, each and every performance has been sold out since opening night.

 

Currently, “Hamilton” is playing in both New York on Broadway, as well as in Chicago.

 

Before watching the documentary, I was already a fan of the soundtrack and was familiar with the creation of the musical that shot through modern day boundaries — musical theatre infiltrating the rap game and pop culture.

 

However, when watching “Hamilton’s America,” listening to many of the guest speakers, (including President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, Jimmy Fallon, the Roots, and more), I really got a sense of how much the musical can change a person.

 

Throughout the documentary, little known facts and intense research are shared with the viewers, including cast connections to their historical figures, their interpretations as a race-blind case, and the importance of telling the often overlooked founding father’s story.

 

I really enjoyed watching the documentary from start to finish. With the impact “Hamilton” has made on the Broadway and entertainment world, it reinforced how hard the show business is and the struggle of living through it with Miranda’s personal life. He was doing 8 shows a day on Broadway, had a 2-week old baby back home, started writing a new musical, and somehow found time for sleep.

 

It continued to amaze me how much work, effort and pride must have gone in to make the “Room Where it Happened” as accurate and as entertaining, realistic and relatable as possible.
As far as seeing the musical itself, it is nearly impossible, since ticket sales are sold out within minutes. However, “Hamilton’s America” confirms that seeing this musical will be life-changing for people who are fans of Broadway and for those who aren’t.