Great Performances: And when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell our story?
October 21, 2016 3:26 PM - Subscribe

Tonight, the room where it happens will be PBS for the premiere of the Hamildoc: Hamilton's America, a documentary film about the musical, which needs no introduction, and the people and history behind its creation. The documentary features everyone from Lin-Manuel Miranda to Stephen Sondheim to Questlove to Barack Obama and offers an opportunity to see some of the original Broadway cast perform up close. It airs on your local PBS station tonight at 9pm (check local listings) and will stream live on Facebook at 9pm Eastern time, and from your PBS Anywhere app.
posted by zachlipton (40 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is this the new election thread? This titles are so confusing.
posted by stet at 5:36 PM on October 21, 2016 [8 favorites]


Stream is up
posted by zachlipton at 5:59 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am having a lot of feelings right now
posted by librarina at 6:28 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


aww, they cut the like, 12 bars of applause that "immigrants, they get the job done" gets on stage.
posted by zachlipton at 6:37 PM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ugh, was not expecting Paul Ryan. Buzz-kill.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:46 PM on October 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


Have a Michelle Obama chaser!
posted by stet at 6:47 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


President Obama describes his approach to solving problems as understanding the constraints put on the person on the other side of the table by their constitutients, while President Bush apparently describes his Presidential approach to problem-solving as asking his staff "ok, how are we going to solve it?" Charming.
posted by zachlipton at 6:58 PM on October 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


"and he SUCKS"

DAVEED /me shakes head fondly
posted by librarina at 7:02 PM on October 21, 2016 [15 favorites]


I didn't think it was possible to love Daveed more, but I sure do right now.

This is giving me so many feelings. And so much need to go on a road trip to see some colonial shit.
posted by palomar at 7:05 PM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


"a cross between a dissertation and a Dear Penthouse letter" actual literal lol
posted by librarina at 7:07 PM on October 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


And Peggy!
posted by zachlipton at 7:24 PM on October 21, 2016 [12 favorites]


Let the avalanche of new tumblr gifsets begin!
posted by oh yeah! at 7:35 PM on October 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


And Peggy!

Damn you. Beat me to it.
posted by duffell at 7:42 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just want to give a couch ovation to the editor. That was a beautifully put together documentary. Also, just when you think you couldn't love the cast of Hamilton more than you already did, here I am fangirling like Michelle Obama.
posted by CatastropheWaitress at 7:45 PM on October 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh god someone please tweet Lin Manuel and ask his if he ever got his piano tuned.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:50 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Poor LMM, now he's packed up his apartment for the move to London... I bet the piano hasn't fared well.
posted by TwoStride at 7:54 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I really loved the instrumental cuts of the show's music as underscoring. The music was edited together well to bring us in and out of the show fluidly, so it wasn't a lot of "here we are talking to a politician" and splat "here we are in the Richard Rodgers," but rather a fluid whole. I'd love it if we could all get our hands on those tracks though.

I do wish, since this is one of the few chances for so many people to actually see bits of the musical, that they had let a few moments of the show go longer. The bullet in "The World Was Wide Enough" was shown briefly, but it would have been great to give people a better view, and they cut away before the final moment of the show, and I bet a lot of viewers would have appreciated a chance to see that.
posted by zachlipton at 7:54 PM on October 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


Totally agreed, CatastropheWaitress--this is one of the best documentaries I've seen in a while. And it reminds me that I have the Chernow book sitting on the shelf. I've really got to get to that soon.
posted by MrBadExample at 7:59 PM on October 21, 2016


The "And Peggy!" might have been the best part of the whole thing.

Well, that and the confirmation that they have filmed the whole show and it will hopefully at some point release it to video or a theatrical release.
posted by stet at 8:05 PM on October 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Someone asked Lin about the piano-still untuned
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:07 PM on October 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


The director, Alex Horwitz, was on the Room Where It's Happening podcast earlier this week and explained that there were licensing and union rules that limited how much of the actual production could be used in the documentary, and he thought people would get a better overall sense of the show by using lots of short clips rather than a few songs in their entirety.

Other than its lack of all 46 songs and inclusion of GWB (cancelled out by two Hamilton historians, two Treasury secretaries, and Elizabeth Warren), this was amazing. The field trips were great - I liked that everyone, not just Lin, got to explore historical sites and talk about their characters - and I agree with zachlipton about the scoring and editing taking us seamlessly in and out of the stage scenes. Also, how great is LMM's dad?

and Peggy!
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:25 PM on October 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


In addition to dumping GWB, I could have done without Fallon or the zombie-eyed granny starver (Ryan). Other than that, though, it was wonderful. I was much more moved/charmed by the "take the actors to historical sites" part than I thought I would be, particularly when LMM and Leslie Odom, Jr were looking at the letters between A. Burr and A. Ham.
posted by TwoStride at 8:32 PM on October 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


"Yeah, well, that's how history works. Sometimes it takes a while for people to give you credit."

Oh GWB, you just keep telling yourself that.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:35 PM on October 21, 2016 [10 favorites]


I thought it was really great, but if I had to put a criticism on it, it's that it can be a little unsure at times whether it's a Hamilton documentary or a Hamilton documentary (the show or the man) and so doesn't go into as much depth on either one as I'd like. For the former, it could have had more inside baseball stuff of "here's the creative team working out this problem" and interviews like "here's the costume designer talking about why we did this." For the latter, it could have dug a bit deeper into some of the contradictions in Hamilton's life and the places where the show deviates a little more from the history. I realize this is an unfair complaint though, and really I'm just saying I want more of everything from more films.
posted by zachlipton at 8:41 PM on October 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's going to start here in a few minutes! Then I will come back and read the comments with attention.
posted by rtha at 8:54 PM on October 21, 2016


In addition to dumping GWB, I could have done without Fallon or the zombie-eyed granny starver (Ryan).

Yeah, dump those stiffs, and you'd have enough time for a chunk of "It's Quiet Uptown." [sob]
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:02 PM on October 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


"Yeah, well, that's how history works. Sometimes it takes a while for people to give you credit."

Of course, Bush would say that. But bless the person who edited it in such a way that it left time for laughter.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:57 PM on October 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


Talking to LMM one on one has to feel like standing in a spotlight, dude is just laser focused on you and 110% enthusiastic and into everything you're saying.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:14 PM on October 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


Paul Ryan and GWB were tremendous buzzkills for me. At one point I was crying over something and Paul Ryan popped up and I immediately stopped it with the feelings and went, "WTF? WHHHHHHHYYYYY?"

Was super excited about Elizabeth Warren and her enthusiasm, though. So I guess, the balance ended up not being horrible to me. With the exception of freaking Fallon. I can't figure out what value he added. We all know the musical is ground breaking and amazing and AWESOME WOW. I don't need that confirmed or echoed by Jimmy Fallon.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:16 PM on October 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pretty funny to see Paul Ryan talking about the importance of the federalist papers & peaceful transfer of power.
posted by bleep at 10:18 PM on October 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


Yeah I would have preferred less Fallon and more of, say, The Roots talking about the show's musical influences.
posted by zachlipton at 10:21 PM on October 21, 2016 [10 favorites]


> Pretty funny to see Paul Ryan talking about the importance of the federalist papers & peaceful transfer of power.

YES THANK YOU.

Cried my way through it like a champ. And bought Freeman's book Affairs of Honor, and Gordon-Reed's the Hemingses of Monticello. Hope those will keep me occupied over the next three-ish weeks.

I decided Fallon was in because he's an investor? I mean, I like him fine but wondered why he got the space he did.
posted by rtha at 10:32 PM on October 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Talking to LMM one on one has to feel like standing in a spotlight, dude is just laser focused on you and 110% enthusiastic and into everything you're saying.

Honestly, being in the same theater as him, even with 1,300 people, felt like this. He's super amazingly available on Twitter, which is just another part of how he's so enthusiastic about everyone around him even after he was the toast of the town and everything. While he was performing, I would sometimes see people tweet at him about how they locked eyes during the show and he'd tweet back something about how he'd remember seeing them, and I thought it seemed a bit fake and corny. And maybe it was sometimes, but seeing him perform, it felt sincere.

As an example, when I was there, at the start of one of the cabinet battles, a young woman on the aisle got really into the "MC battle" atmosphere and gave a little enthusiastic gesture. As LMM turned away, he definitely locked eyes with her, put his hand to his heart, and gave her a little bit of thanks.

And somehow he was capable of performing that incredibly draining emotionally wrecking show and hopping on his phone to interact with people a few minutes later. He retweeted the Prince tribute video, seemingly perfectly happy with its status as a completely unauthorized bootleg (not of the actual show of course, he's not cool with those) before I even made it out of midtown (and my iPhone's notification screen will never forgive me for what it went through that night).
posted by zachlipton at 10:37 PM on October 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


When we saw Hamilton w/ the original cast except for Javier Munoz as Hamilton,* LMM stuck his head out and waved during the curtain call and, while we didn't have great seats, that is one magnetic motherfucker.

Funny to see Warren talking about the banking system. Nuance for the win!

* Not to brag. Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? My spouse bought face-value tickets on a kind-of-semi impulse and we got to see the show.
posted by stet at 10:47 PM on October 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


I made it as far as the segment where they took Chris Jackson to Mt Vernon, got a little choked up, then totally lost it watching Obama watch him singing One Last Time... Hamilton + election feels... 😭
posted by miratime at 3:30 AM on October 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


I was so engrossed that I didn't even notice the big cat taking a Massive Poo on the rug ... two feet in front of me. Teared up repeatedly throughout. Crying audibly by the end.

"And Peggy!" was so perfectly what I needed to counter all the feels. I laughed loud enough that my husband heard me from the back room.

That laugh also set me in a better mindframe for reacting reasonably to the cat poo.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 5:29 AM on October 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


I was OK with GWB and Paul Ryan only because, with their inclusion, there's a possibility that someone whose politics weren't so progressively inclined might've stuck around for long enough to see Chris Jackson in Washington's slave quarters or hear Daveed Diggs declare that Jefferson sucks.

Well, I can dream, anyway.
posted by minsies at 5:31 AM on October 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


I was OK with GWB and Paul Ryan only because, with their inclusion, there's a possibility that someone whose politics weren't so progressively inclined might've stuck around for long enough to see Chris Jackson in Washington's slave quarters or hear Daveed Diggs declare that Jefferson sucks.

My parents are going to be a test case - I called last night to let Mom know she might want to record the episode, and she did, but as of this morning they hadn't watched it yet. No idea if it was because they were too tired/watching other things, or if their insane hate-on for everything Obama means that they will be too poisoned against it to watch it. I'm hoping their history-buff-ness triumphs; Dad loves TURN: Washington's Spies, so I'd think he'd appreciate it, but, there's just no telling with them these days.

>Talking to LMM one on one has to feel like standing in a spotlight, dude is just laser focused on you and 110% enthusiastic and into everything you're saying.

>Honestly, being in the same theater as him, even with 1,300 people, felt like this.

I loved that he did the intro/outro at the United Palace of Cultural Arts, I got to see him host some movie screenings there pre-Hamilton - Muppets Take Manhattan and Ghostbusters, and he was terrific. And now he's donated them a new projector (before they were using blu-ray discs for the screenings).
posted by oh yeah! at 9:28 AM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dad loves TURN: Washington's Spies, so I'd think he'd appreciate it, but, there's just no telling with them these days.

I started watching Turn because Hamilton left me craving more, and that show is pretty good but so frustratingly close to amazing, while never really getting there.

It's a show with Owen from Torchwood doing real solid work, a dude who looks like Tom Hiddleston as the dark and sexy British spymaster who somehow rocks a Padawan braid, one of the best creepy villain portrayals in recent years in Simcoe, Caleb Brewster and Robert Rogers are fun as hell... it's so close to being incredible, SO CLOSE! And it's just kind of... not. It's pretty good, but I feel like it doesn't leverage some more fun elements that are there for the taking with that cast and the example of Hamilton nailing the affecting drama while still being really fun.

If Burn Gorman and Samuel Roukin aren't snatched up by Disney to play basically the Hewlett and Simcoe of the Empire in Star Wars, somebody's asleep at the wheel.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:20 AM on October 22, 2016


I just loved Leslie Odom Jr's appropriately wishy-washy "It could be argued that Burr wasn't a good politician."
posted by jeather at 7:50 PM on October 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


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