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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Hamilton’s America comes to Baltimore’s Loyola


On Thursday, March 2, in McManus theater, Alex Horowitz, director of the documentary “Hamilton’s America,” came to campus to give talk about the making of the documentary. Horowitz’s documentary examines the production process of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which is written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The event was truly a special time for all, and Messina did a great job putting it on.

Horowitz is not only a successful filmmaker, but also a longtime friend of Miranda. In fact, the two met in college at Wesleyan University. They were good friends as first-year students and eventually became roommates by senior year.

The pair stayed together as Miranda produced his first Broadway musical, “In the Heights.” Now, the duo is stronger than ever as they have embraced the immense popularity of “Hamilton.”

“Hamilton’s America” was released on Oct. 21, 2016 on PBS and is available online for free streaming. According to PBS (, the documentary “brings history to vivid life.”

“Hamilton’s America” goes into the creation of the show and process of developing it, while also showing the history of Alexander Hamilton himself.

The documentary includes a lot of footage from the production itself, like performances with the original cast and trips to historic locations such as Mt. Vernon and Valley Forge. There are also many interviews with historians, politicians, and more. Some notable figures are former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Questlove of hip-hop group The Roots, composer Stephen Sondheim, and even show host Jimmy Fallon.

During his presentation, Horowitz talked a lot about behind-the-scenes events and the process of working on this film side-by-side with Miranda. He would talk for a few moments about a certain aspect of the documentary, and then play the corresponding clip. Horowitz said that he tried to focus more on the history of Alexander Hamilton and less on the process of creating the musical.

Horowitz talked about many aspects of history that we may not usually know. He noted, both in the documentary and at the event, that the founding fathers were flawed people, either having many affairs or owning slaves, like George Washington did. He also discussed the powerful women of the time like Elizabeth Schuyler, who worked hard alongside Hamilton himself, copying parts of his defense documents for his publisher and even helping him edit his writing like The Federalist Papers and Washington’s Farewell Address.

Horowitz joked that Miranda loves being in front of the camera. He told the audience that he purposefully gave Miranda a lot of screen time. Of course, no one minded this because Miranda has an entertaining personality. There were many scenes where he would rap the lyrics of the songs, and then they would show the rap actually being perfomed in the show, so we could see the process contrasted with the final performance.

According to Horowitz, despite all of the success Miranda has achieved, he has not changed a bit since college and has not let the fame go to his head.

Horowitz was asked by an audience member which part of the musical he wished was in the documentary. He answered that he loved the musical number “Satisfied” and wished that he had gotten clips of that in his film. But at the same time, he knew that it wouldn’t do the full performance justice if he had only included a few short clips.

“I loved [the talk]. It was amazing that Messina could bring a high-profile person to campus,” Tiffany Nano-Miranda ’18 said. “I love [Alexander] Hamilton, and what he means for me as the daughter of immigrants and just being in the room with other HamilFans was great. Alex Horowitz reminds us that we never know how we impact the people around us.”

The event ended with an exclusive clip from the documentary that only a few live audiences have ever seen. I won’t mention it here, because the clip was only for people who were in the room where it happened.


All Images Courtesy of Marley Scheld

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Hamilton’s America comes to Baltimore’s Loyola