It’s practically impossible to be in The Room Where It Happens with Hamilton, but PBS will be bringing fans inside Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pop cultural phenomenon with a new documentary.
The 90-minute documentary, titled “Hamilton’s America,” will premiere Oct. 17 as part of PBS’s Great Performances, according to Playbill. It will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the show and chronicle the two years before it opened on Broadway.
The special will feature interviews with the Obamas, former President George W. Bush, Jimmy Fallon, and Questlove.
“[The film is] more of a ‘How this thing came together,’” Miranda said.
The documentary will blend aspects of the Broadway show with the real history its based on, such as actors Chris Jackson (George Washington) and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Aaron Burr) taking the audience to Washington’s grave in Virginia and the Museum of American Finance in New York, according to the press release.
“Since we presented In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams in 2009, we’ve been taken by Lin-Manuel’s unique talents and we’re honored to collaborate with him again on Hamilton’s America,” David Horn, executive producer of Great Performances, said in a statement. “The film will offer audiences a fascinating point of view as we witness first-hand Lin’s inspiration and creative process, as well as the lasting impact of Alexander Hamilton on our society today.”
Miranda added: “On behalf of the entire Hamilton cast and creative team, many of whom are In The Heights alumni, we are overjoyed to be returning to PBS in partnership with RadicalMedia with this project. We invited filmmaker Alex Horwitz into ‘the room where it happened’ a few years ago, and he’s captured parts of this journey no one has seen. We can’t wait to share it, thanks to PBS.”
Also dropping in October is a Hamilton mixtape, which will feature new music that was cut from the show.
“Hamilton’s story was pretty clear,” Miranda said. “There’s probably 10-15 songs [that were cut], which is really good batting average for me, and we’re releasing some of those on the Hamilton Mixtape that will come out in the fall. That is still deciding what it wants to be. I’m letting the artists who are [involved] take the lead on that. It’s right now a mix of covers and ‘inspired-bys.’ So there will be a cover of ‘My Shot.’ The chorus is our chorus, but the verses are incredible rappers doing what they do and writing incredible verses that I didn’t write.
“In addition to [covers],” he explained, there will be multiple demos of songs that didn’t make the final cut. “So I’m going to put that cut slavery rap battle that was in the book… We’re putting my demo of that on [the album]. I have a song called ‘Valley Forge’ that I cut that we actually performed in the Lincoln Center concert. I sort of took the best lines from it and put it in ‘Stay Alive,’ but the ‘Valley Forge’ demo will be on the recording. There’s a number of other demos… ‘Congratulations’ was a song that Angelica had. I think we’re putting that on the Mixtape. So there’s going to be like six or seven of the cut tunes on that as interludes between these amazing artists. A lot of my favorite rap albums have skits, so those are our skits, like me singing hoarsely at four in the morning with these tunes.”
Miranda also confirmed that prior to his July 9 departure from the show that Hamilton will be filmed with the original cast. When that footage will see the light of day remains to be seen, but it’s definitely encouraging to hear. We’re willing to Wait for It.