Broadway’s Hamilton Becomes a Part of U.S. Educational Program

Theatres in Chicago opened their doors for more than 2,000 high school students: they all got an opportunity to attend the Hamilton show for free within their admission to Northwestern University.

Hamilton education

Hamilton became a special show to teach students all at once. It has not only artistic merit but also historical, cultural and political value. This prompted high schools and colleges in the USA to use the musical for the purposes of education. As a part of their high school program, around 49,000 students were introduced to the show free of charge or for a concessionary fee.

Northwestern freshman Alex Richard shares his impressions of Hamilton: “Even though it is great to discuss such events in a classroom, there is nothing can be compared with seeing the live performance”.

Hamilton CIBC Theatre in Chicago organized two matinees within the One Book One Northwestern program which consists of topical discussions, public performances and various events connected with the chosen book. The title of 2017 was Danielle Allen’s Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defence of Equality. As the part of the event, first-year Northwestern students visited those matinees in October.

Another Look at History

The director of One Book One Northwestern, Nancy Cunniff, underlines the need for a better understanding of a subject through providing a different perspective on it. After seeing the show, students are more capable of stating their own views during the discussion.

She said: “Many students don’t enjoy history at all, but most of them have no problems with musicals. That’s why this approach helps them to take another look at history through the prism of the musical”.

An associate professor Geraldo Cadava is a leader of a lecture course called Hamilton’s America. The class includes history and Latino studies lessons, in some way concerning the same name show. Nowadays it is counted on 135 students, but this year the team of the course plans to raise the cap to 180 places. They look forward to increasing of interest to the class after the prior events.

Another course for first-year students dedicated to Hamilton is arranged by Milwaukee’s Marquette University. This class is called “Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton” after the name of the show’s director, Lin-Manuel Miranda. The course became quite popular among students and is overfilled as of the current year. Freshmen learn the biography of Alexander Hamiton based on both Ron Chernow’s work and Miranda’s lyrics.

The professor Gerry Canavan who leads the course fined his experience of such teaching very exciting. He is inspired by an opportunity to develop students’ criticism and interpretation skills in a different way than before.

The other educational establishments which decided to include Hamilton in their history or music programs are Ithaca College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Duke University.

In the Name of American History Understanding

The target audience for professors is mostly high school students. Within the special program, the investors make donations in order to ensure the free or affordable access to the show for the students of 10th and 11th grades. Young people are also allowed to present their own creativity on the stage before the performance. It can be any copyright material including poems, songs or dramatic scenes.

4 major US cities are participating in this event: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Over the past two years, nearly 49,000 students visited the show. According to the latest news, at least 100,000 students from Washington D.C, Houston, Tempe, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis, San Diego and Salt Lake City will be able to see the live performance of the Broadway hit.

“We provide students with the opportunity to see Hamilton in the name of a better understanding of American History, performance art, drama and music.” – said Jeffrey Seller, Hamilton’s producer.

The first performance in Canada will be held in 2019 in Toronto.


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