New PBS Doc Will Go Behind-the-Scenes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hustle to Create ‘Hamilton’

Lead Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
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On May 12, 2009, a Lin-Manuel Miranda without his now signature long hair told the audience at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word that he was working on a concept album on someone he believes embodies the spirit of hip-hop: Alexander Hamilton. Michelle and Barack Obama as well as the rest of the crowd laughed.

“You laugh, but it’s true,” he said, before performing “The Hamilton Mixtape.” Fast forward to 2016, and Miranda now has a hit Broadway show on his hands based on the life of Hamilton. The show is so popular that it is sold out until fall, and counterfeit tickets have been on the rise.

While it’s basically impossible to score tickets to the show, PBS will put many of us closer than ever before. In fall 2016, PBS will air a documentary titled Hamilton’s America that gives an intimate look at what Miranda and his team went through from planning Hamilton two years ago to opening day in summer 2015.

The documentary is part of PBS’ Great Performances, which has been giving a look into performing arts specials all over the world since 1972. In 2009, Miranda’s In the Heights was featured on Great Performances.

The documentary will show Miranda in Aaron Burr’s Manhattan bedroom as he works on music, Chris Jackson (aka George Washington) in Virginia, and the cast’s trips to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Miranda has already shared a few images from the documentary on his Twitter account.

“PBS is thrilled to give viewers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at this sensational—and sold out—Broadway musical,” said Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive and general manager at PBS.  “With this level of access to Lin-Manuel Miranda and his team, PBS continues to live up to our mission of giving viewers a backstage pass and a front row seat to the arts.”