For today’s generation of theater fans, a musical like Hamilton arrived at the perfect place and time.
At a period when political turmoil in the United States was on a rapid rise, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s show about the rise and fall of Alexander Hamilton was a fitting wake-up call for many to take a closer look at the history of their nation.
Hamilton was a widely-acclaimed production that won several Tony Awards, Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. The show would eventually expand to sold-out crowds worldwide, including in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Despite its accolades, the genesis of Hamilton is accidental: as captured in Elio Espana’s Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway. The documentary narrates the origins of the musical, which Miranda points out arose after he randomly picked up an Alexander Hamilton biography, and noticed the similarities of America’s founding father to the dynamic nature of hip-hop.
While historians argued that Hamilton was akin to the cultural impacts created by Marvin Hamlisch’s A Chorus Line in the ‘70s and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats in the ’80s, many would still point out how singular and unique the show is compared to other titles—even Miranda’s first Broadway show In the Heights.
Espana’s documentary makes clear that Hamilton as a musical is not all glitz and flashes. The director looks into the many years Miranda endured to bring the show to fruition.
Overall, Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway is a great documentary that can be enjoyed by fans of the musical and history buffs alike. It is a fitting, complementary watch to the filmed Broadway performance that is currently streaming on Disney+.