October 22, 2016

WE LIVE THERE:

Hamilton's America Has Its Eyes on History : The PBS documentary is less a behind-the-scenes glimpse than a social primer on why Broadway's biggest smash matters. (SPENCER KORNHABER,  OCT 20, 2016, The Atlantic)
 
About seven minutes into the PBS documentary Hamilton's America, George W. Bush shows up to comment on Alexander Hamilton finally getting his due in the American public consciousness.

"That's the way history works," Bush says into the camera. "Sometimes it takes a while for people to give you credit."

He delivers the line with a pause mid-sentence and a glint in the eye, seeming to relish that he'll be interpreted as talking about himself as much as he's talking about the $10 founding father. There are a lot of similar moments in Hamilton's America, which almost concerns itself more with American history and present-day politics than it does with Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway smash.

The PBS documentary--directed by Alex Horwitz with Miranda and Hamilton honcho Jeffrey Sellers among the executive producers--has been hyped as a rare opportunity to get a glimpse of a production that's sold out for the foreseeable future. There are indeed passages fans will gobble up, as when Miranda's seen workshopping lyrics in Aaron Burr's actual bedroom. For anyone locked out of the Hamilton stage phenomenon but obsessed with the cast album, the doc's performance snippets will be manna; I, for example, didn't realize till now that the founding fathers actually take a shot of alcohol during "My Shot."

But the film, primarily, is neither a behind-the-scenes reveal nor a sampler of the stage production. Instead, it's a crash course on why Hamilton matters at all. 

Posted by at October 22, 2016 9:54 AM

  

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