See the first 40 minutes of highly anticipated 'Hamilton' documentary free at PPHM

Last Updated by Chip Chandler on
Phillipa Soo and Lin-Manuel Miranda contribute to Hamilton's America.
Courtesy Joan Marcus

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

If you haven't scored a Hamilton ticket — and let's face it, most of us haven't — you've not thrown away your shot at going even deeper inside the show than its Broadway audiences have.

PBS will debut Hamilton's America, an in-depth documentary about the making of the once-in-a-generation Broadway smash, at 8 p.m. Oct. 21, with an immediate encore at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 21. That kicks off the PBS Arts Fall Festival, which will feature a broadcast of the recent London revival of Gypsy, a concert by Alan Cumming and more.

But you don't have to wait for it: We're co-hosting a sneak peek of the first 40 minutes of the documentary at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Hazlewood Lecture Hall at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, 2503 Fourth Ave. in Canyon.

Along with commentary from Wade Shaffer, provost & vice president for academic affairs at West Texas A&M University, PPHM also will display special artifacts and autographs from their archives – for this night only – from Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Aaron Burr, and others.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

It began in 2008. Lin-Manuel Miranda was on vacation in Mexico, reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton – all 832 pages of it. When he returned to New York, he invited Chernow to see In the Heights, his first Broadway show and winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical. During a backstage visit afterwards, Miranda told the author that as he was reading his book, hip-hop songs started rising off the pages.

“I knew it was my next show,” he said.

Eight years, 11 Tony Awards, and one Pulitzer Prize later, Hamilton is the hottest ticket on Broadway and a pop culture phenomenon. 

Hamilton’s America, produced by Academy Award and Emmy-winning producers RadicalMedia, offers an intimate look at the creation of the show, revealing Miranda’s process as he adapts Hamilton’s epic story into groundbreaking musical theater. Newly shot footage of the New York production with its original cast and trips to Mt. Vernon, Valley Forge, and other historic locations with Miranda and other cast members further flesh out the story.

“PBS is thrilled to give viewers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at this sensational — and sold out — Broadway musical,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS chief programming executive and general manager of general audience programming.  “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.” 

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 role that storytelling plays in history is a central theme of Hamilton the musical and Hamilton’s America. The musical invites audiences to ponder: “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” In the film, Miranda marvels at the way Alexander Hamilton has changed his life — and the way the show has enriched Hamilton’s legacy.

“He reached out of the Chernow book and grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go until I told his story,” he said. 

For information on the screening event, call PPHM at 806-651-2242 or visit



Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and at on Facebook.

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