Unless you have been living under a rock, you are aware that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton was in town for a run. Even though the musical first opened on Broadway in 2015, it remains of the most sought-after tickets in entertainment.
Miranda is the American composer, lyricist, playwright, and actor of Puerto Rican ancestry best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musical In The Heights and Hamilton.
In 2008, while on vacation, Miranda read Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. Inspired by the book, Miranda began writing and performing songs and pieces that would form part of the musical production. Critics hailed Miranda’s Hamilton a “game changer.” His revolutionary bio-musical is a cultural phenomenon and has elevated the art form.
More than 2,600 students and teachers from Title 1 schools came together to see the show for free at The Hobby Center on May 17.
The trip to the Hobby Center was the highlight of the Hamilton Education Program often called Edu-Ham. Nearly 30 Houston-area schools took part. Three Aldine ISD campuses — Eisenhower High School, MacArthur HS and Victory Early College HS — were among the lucky groups chosen.
The program is the result of a partnership between Hamilton and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Schools had to apply to be a part of the program. Once accepted, they received a curriculum and spent weeks studying American revolutionary history that included Alexander Hamilton and the nation’s Founding Fathers.
Students also have Mayor Sylvester Turner to thank. Two years ago, he wrote a letter to Miranda asking that the he consider Houston for the educational project.
Participating high school students were then asked to put together performance pieces that could be a song, rap, spoken word or monologues. Students dug into history. They used primary sources, to come up with really creative student original projects. Students could get in groups to produce their original performance pieces.
“I’m past patiently waitin’. I’m passionately smashin’ every expectation. Every action’s an act of creation! I’m laughin’ in the face of casualties and sorrow. For the first time, I’m thinkin’ past tomorrow.” — Alexander Hamilton
Before seeing the Hamilton musical, about a dozen student groups were selected to perform their original works on the stage at The Hobby Center. With their Hamilton style, the students impressed the performers they would soon see on stage. Among them were several AISD students. Jackie Duarte and José Cháidez performed from MacArthur HS, while Kayla Miles, Brenda Luis and Nely Vargas from Victory ECHS performed.
After the student performances, the Hamilton actors answered questions from students about their journey into acting and their roles in one of Broadway’s hottest shows.
The actors also talked about how they hoped students would be inspired to go out themselves and write the next hit musical.
Hamilton‘s Houston run ended May 20.
Click below to learn more about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton by watching the PBS Learning Media.
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