Back by popular demand, “Great Performances” pulls back the curtain of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s record-breaking “Hamilton” to bring you the history and production of this Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award- winning show in “Hamilton’s America” on Friday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. on Arizona PBS.
“Hamilton’s America” explores this pop culture Broadway phenomenon and the stories behind its creation. The two-hour behind-the-scenes show features interviews with Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Nas, Questlove, Stephen Sondheim and more.
The program delves even deeper into the creation of the show, revealing Miranda’s process of absorbing and then adapting Hamilton’s epic story into groundbreaking musical theater. Further fleshing out the story is newly shot footage of the New York production with its original cast, trips to historic locations, such as Mt. Vernon and Valley Forge with Miranda and other cast members, and a surprising range of interviews with prominent personalities, experts and musicians.
A unique window into the artistry and research involved in making the show, you’ll witness Miranda at the White House in 2009 performing an early version of what would become “Alexander Hamilton,” the first number in the musical, and have an inside view of Miranda as he composes songs in Aaron Burr’s Manhattan bedroom. Travel to Virginia with Christopher Jackson – who received a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of George Washington – as he reveals his personal struggle preparing for the role while grappling with our Founders’ legacy of slavery.
Back in New York, Miranda, who originated the Tony-nominated role of Hamilton in the musical and Leslie Odom, Jr. – who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Aaron Burr – visit the Museum of American Finance to get a deeper understanding of the historical figures they are depicting on stage.
“Hamilton’s America” shows how timeless the same hot-button issues are today: immigration, states’ rights, debt, income inequality and race relations. These were the same fights that defined Hamilton’s time, and they are the driving force of Miranda’s historic work. The film endeavors to brush the dust off American history, much as the musical does, and provide a unique way for us to view our national heritage and current political landscape.