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"Hamilton" Pulls Into Los Angeles, Brings #EduHam To Teens
"Hamilton" the musical rolls into Los Angeles on Aug. 16, and "the plan is to fan this spark into a flame."
The GRAMMY-winning musical, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, has been tearing up the box office since it opened on Broadway in New York in 2015, and it promises to do the same in Los Angeles at the Pantages Theatre, the musical's temporary home for 21 weeks.
While the musical itself is exciting enough, it's the #EduHam educational program for Title I public high school students that really builds anticipation. Not only does the initiative offer teens the chance to see the musical for just $10, students participate in an online course that teaches the history featured in the musical and challenges students to create their own historical performance pieces. They then have the opportunity to perform in front of their peers and the cast of the show.
"These kids are writing these incredible poems and dances and songs and scenes, not just from the perspective of George Washington, but also Sally Hemings and Phillis Wheatley — it's this incredible way to explore how history isn't told," Miranda said. "We really don't treat Hamilton as the be-all, end-all of American history — it's a musical! It's as much as we can cram into two hours and 45 minutes! — but it's been a great jumping-off point."
— NYC Public Schools (@NYCSchools) April 13, 2016
The #EduHam initiative grew with the show from the beginning. Miranda says teachers were already using the viral 2009 opening number "Alexander Hamilton" in classrooms before the whole musical was finished. He envisioned kids as part of the experience, but wanted to go a step farther than simply discounting tickets. From there, #EduHam was born.
Having reached nearly 40,000 students already, #EduHam follows the musical into each tour city, which has included New York and Chicago so far Los Angeles will be no exception. The production is working with Los Angeles May Eric Garcetti to gather the resources to make the program possible, such as student transportation and meals.
Thanks to the #EduHam initiative, "Hamilton" brings the musical to a diverse audience and provides new opportunities for students.
"This is not a typical Broadway audience," said Miranda. "To see these kids experience 'Hamilton' onstage — a story told in the music they listen to, with a multiracial cast that looks like them — it's magical."