So there’s this little musical called “Hamilton” that’s kind of been causing a splash lately. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
It’s so popular, in fact, that PBS is hosting a two-hour documentary to take you behind the scenes of the most popular show to ever hit Broadway. From backstage freestyling to performances in the White House, this trip into the mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda and “Hamilton’s” journey to becoming a national sensation is seriously worth watching.
To get you ready, we’ve got the seven things to know about the documentary before watching.
1. Have a thesaurus handy
If Lin-Manuel Miranda’s intricate rhymes and rap battles don’t have you reaching for a thesaurus, his real-life vocabulary definitely will. We’re not ashamed to admit that we had to Google a couple of Lin’s descriptors for his main man Ham. Who the heck uses “indefatigable” in conversational English?
2. It’s not just for superfans
Sure, there are lots of nods to the fans of “Hamilton” in the documentary, but if you’ve never heard about the play or listened to the soundtrack, you’ll still be able to follow along nicely. Miranda does a great job of narrating Alexander Hamilton’s story while also telling his own story about writing the musical at the same time.
3. Prepare for super swanky cameos
From Jimmy Fallon to President George W. Bush, “Hamilton’s America” has got a slew of celebrity cameos that will make you go slack-jawed. Not to mention, the amazing cast behind the show adds their two cents about characters and history as you go along.
4. You’ll get deep insight into historical figures
The cast of “Hamilton” may be diverse, but they’re all well aware that a few of the characters they’re playing were slave-owners. Daveed Diggs and Christopher Jackson, who play Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, do a great job of exploring the positive and negative aspects of both founding fathers.
5. There’s footage spanning 6 years
Contrary to popular belief, this musical didn’t spring out of nowhere in January 2015. Lin-Manuel Miranda chronicled the journey from way back in 2009, when he first read Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, all the way to opening night and beyond. You’ll actually get to hear some lyrics for “The Story of Tonight” and “My Shot” that never made it into the show.
6. Keep watching until the last minute
You should absolutely, positively watch the documentary until the very final seconds — even as the credits roll. We won’t spoil why, we’ll just say there’s something tacked on the end that will totally crack you up.
7. Start saving your pennies now
Be warned — you’re going to walk away from this documentary with an urgent need to be in “The Room Where It Happens.” Ticket prices are steep, and we’re pretty sure both the Broadway and Chicago shows are sold out until the end of time, but nonetheless, you’re going to want to watch this show live.
“Hamilton’s America” airs Friday (Oct. 21) at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.