WUCF hosts “Hamilton” documentary preview


Monday evening, Orlando “Hamilton” fans did not “throw away their shot” to see a sneak preview of “Hamilton’s America,” a documentary on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical premiering on PBS Friday.

WUCF TV hosted the event at the Orange County Library downtown.

“Our station saw the widespread appeal “Hamilton” had in the Orlando community, and we thought it would be a great event to tell people about the documentary and to tell people about WUCF,” UCF senior public administration student Jordan Faiella, 22, said.

Faiella ran the welcoming table alongside UCF senior film studies student Natalie Machado, 21.

About 100 people attended the event and watched the first 40 minutes of the film.

UCF acapella group Voicebox sang a medley of “Hamilton” songs before the screening began.

There was a raffle for show posters and the popular book, “Hamilton: The Revolution.” People could also win prizes by posting a picture on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag, “HamilDocPBS.”

Viewer Jean Moojrani was one of the lucky ten winners of the book, which includes lyrics of the 23,000-word musical, comments from the original cast and pre-production notes from Lin-Manuel Miranda, himself.

The hip-hop composer said the “cabinet meetings,” or battles, are his favorite songs, but Moorjani, 38, had a different view.

“I love ‘The Schuyler Sisters,’” Moorjani said. “My favorite thing is listening to my kids sing that song.”

She particularly likes the part when Angelica Schuyler sings about women’s suffrage.

“My kids hear what Hamilton says [and what Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote], and they would ask me, ‘what did he mean?’” Moorjani loves discussing history with her children.

“In the film, it was exciting to see clips of Lin-Manuel Miranda working in Aaron Burr’s bedroom,” she said.

Her family sported shirts that said “Burr 1800,” in the style of Bernie Sanders’ campaign merchandise.

Maggie Rush, a freshman UCF international and global studies major, is gaga over the show and was lucky enough to score seats for a performance in June 2017.

“I’m seeing it the day after my birthday, and I am so excited,” Rush, 18, said. “My ticket cost around $200, which isn’t bad at all.”

The average “Hamilton” ticket costs around $1,000, for a resale price, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Jimmy Fallon, President George W. Bush and “Hamilton” director Alex Horowitz provided historical insight in the film.

Miranda’s peers said how they have never seen a show penetrate American culture faster than “Hamilton,” and a historian said that Miranda’s work was equivalent to the theatrics of Shakespeare.

“Shakespeare used iambic pentameter and Miranda used hip hop,” one historian said.

Miranda read Ron Chernow’s biography on Alexander Hamilton simply because he wanted something to read. Miranda was inspired right away and just starting writing songs.

“It took two and a half years to write the first two songs [of the musical],” Miranda said. He wanted to “encapsulate Hamilton’s childhood in two verses.”

Chernow made an appearance in the film, as well.

In 2009, “The White House called,” Miranda said. He sang “The Hamilton Mixtape” of the two songs at the “White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word.” A YouTube video from that evening went viral, and Miranda said, “we have a show here.”

The show debuted at the Richard Rogers Theatre on Broadway in 2015.

“All I know is we had our first show and people freaked out,” Miranda said.

Friday, the world can see Miranda’s story in “Hamilton’s America” because, to echo his lyrics, “the world turned upside down.” Those were the final words onscreen as the preview ended.