Hamilton’s America Comprehensive Documentary Three Years in the Making Comes to THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Friday, October 21 at 9 p.m. as Season Kickoff to PBS Arts Fall Festival
Broadway and history combine in a timely look at the making of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning megahit “Hamilton”
Hamilton’s America, the documentary film that brings history to vivid life through the lens of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pop culture Broadway phenomenon Hamilton – winner of 11 Tony Awards® and the Pulitzer Prize – explodes onto THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, Friday, October 21 at 9 p.m. on PBS as the season premiere of the PBS Arts Fall Festival. (Check local listings.)
The story of Alexander Hamilton is most remembered for its dramatic conclusion, which saw Hamilton killed in a duel by Vice President Aaron Burr. But the full story of this political genius – a poor immigrant who built himself up from nothing to become one of the nation’s most vital architects – has largely been forgotten by history…until now.
Today, Hamilton’s fan club is vocal and growing, thanks, in no small measure, to Tony®, Grammy®, and Emmy®-winning composer and actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s revolutionary musical. With its young cast claiming America’s history as its own, Hamilton is redefining how audiences learn about history.
Produced by Academy Award® and Emmy Award®-winning producers RadicalMedia (What Happened, Miss Simone?, Keith Richards: Under The Influence, In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams for PBS) and directed by Alex Horwitz, Hamilton’s America 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, politicians, and musicians including President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Secretary Hank Paulson, Secretary Timothy Geithner, Questlove, Black Thought, Jimmy Fallon, John Weidman, Nas and Stephen Sondheim.
Hamilton’s America shows just how timeless the hot-button issues of today’s America are: 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 new way for us to view our national heritage and current political landscape.
A unique window into the artistry and research involved in making the show, viewers will 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 they will also be given an inside view of Miranda as he composes songs in Aaron Burr’s Manhattan bedroom. They will travel to Virginia with Christopher Jackson –who was Tony®-nominated for his portrayal of George Washington in the musical –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, including a memorable moment from this research trip, when the two actors brandish authentic 19th-century dueling pistols.
Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its more than 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. The series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.
Hamilton’s America was directed by Alex Horwitz and produced by Nicole Pusateri, with Executive Producers Jon Kamen, Justin Wilkes, and Dave Sirulnick for RadicalMedia. Jeffrey Seller and Lin-Manuel Miranda also served as executive producers.
For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.
The Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Rosalind P. Walter, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Lenore Hecht Foundation, The Abra Prentice Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold, and PBS. Major corporate funding for Hamilton’s America is provided by BNY Mellon, originally the Bank of New York which was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784.
Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs.
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (KidsThirteen, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.
RadicalMedia is constantly exploring and expanding traditional boundaries to push the art of storytelling across all forms of media in collaboration with networks and film studios. Their vast body of award-winning work includes: the Oscar®, Emmy® and Grammy Award®-nominated documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? and the critically acclaimed Keith Richards: Under the Influence, both for Netflix; the Academy Award® and Spirit Award®-winning documentary, The Fog of War; Grammy Award®-winning Concert for George for PBS; The Ron Howard helmed Jay-Z documentary, Made In America for Showtime; the Joe Berlinger films: Emmy Award®-winning documentary, Paul Simon’s Graceland Journey: Under African Skies for A&E, the Spirit Award®-winning documentary, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, the Academy Award® and Emmy®-nominated, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory for HBO, and Whitey: The US vs. James J. Bulger for CNN. Additional Television credits include: five seasons of the Emmy Award®-winning series, Oprah’s Master Class, for OWN, six seasons of Iconoclasts for the Sundance Channel, David Blaine: Real or Magic for ABC, the Emmy®-nominated AOL series, Park Bench with Steve Buscemi, Judgement Day: Prison or Parole? for Investigation Discovery, two ESPN “30 for 30” films, Doc & Darryl and You Don’t Know Bo, and Hello World! for Discovery Channel. Highly anticipated projects in production include, Hamilton’s America for PBS, examining the creative force and rich history behind Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony®, Grammy® and Pulitzer Prize®-winning Broadway megahit; Stan Against Evil, the IFC comedy-horror series from writer Dana Gould, and the six-part mini-series event, Mars for Nat Geo with partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment.
PBS Arts Fall Festival
“Hamilton’s America” is part of the sixth annual PBS Arts Fall Festival, a ten-week series starting October 21. The festival features a variety of legendary artists, dazzling musical performances and captivating dance works, beginning with GREAT PERFORMANCES “Hamilton’s America,” a look at the making of the hottest show on Broadway. The PBS Arts Fall Festival, which last year reached more than nine million viewers, is a cornerstone of the Friday primetime lineup, underscoring PBS’ ongoing commitment to give audiences the best seats in the house to watch arts performances on air and online. Most programs will be available online at video.pbs.org after their broadcast premiere. For more, visit pressroom.pbs.org.