The Richard Rodgers Theatre hosted over 1,300 high school juniors May 10 as part of #EduHam, Hamilton’s education initiative that brings American history out of the classroom and onto the stage.
During the event, students from 12 participating New York City public high schools showcased their own performance pieces inspired by the show and their own history curriculum on stage. Following the student showcases and a panel with members of the cast, the high schoolers were treated to a private matinee of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony- and Pulitzer-winning musical (at only $10 a ticket).
Among the students selected to perform were Amay Fragosa and Tyler Exum of Murray Hill Academy in Manhattan. The two presented a rap calling for women’s rights. “Women really went through a lot; it took us a really long time to get our rights,” Fragosa told Playbill following the performance. “It’s important to actually bring awareness to that.”
The crowd was exuberant yet respectful throughout both the student performances and the matinee. Hamilton had been incorporated into their class curriculum throughout the year—from preparing performance pieces to analyzing Miranda’s lyrics. As the show progressed, students echoed key phrases (such as the Schuyler sisters’ “Work!” and an emphatic “No!” as Alexander Hamilton navigated his affair with Maria Reynolds).
Aaliha T., a student at Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music, summarized the necessity of programs such as this: “Theatre is here to teach you. That’s important, because there’s more ways than just learning in a standardized class.”
The education initiative, presented in partnership between producer Jeffrey Seller and the Rockefeller Foundation, began in April 2016 and has taken place periodically since then. The Chicago sit-down production and the national tour have also held their own #EduHam events.
The current cast of Hamilton includes Javier Muñoz as Alexander Hamilton, Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon as Aaron Burr, Lexi Lawson as Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, Mandy Gonzalez as Angelica Schuyler, Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, and three-time Tony nominee Brian d'Arcy James as King George. To purchase tickets, click here.