Richards students reflect on the Hamilton musical

Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (Cynthia Moreno and Jesus Martinez) song- Yorktown. Photo by Vanessa Burciago

Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (Cynthia Moreno and Jesus Martinez) song- Yorktown. Photo by Vanessa Burciaga

For some Chicago high school students, Wednesday, March 15 was not a typical day in the classroom. A long line snaked outside the Private Bank Theater downtown, where well-dressed students waited to be let inside the historic landmark.   

With the support of a number funders including the Rockefeller Foundation, 20,000 Chicago high school students will have the opportunity to experience HAMILTON after having American history studies in the classroom.

Through a special curriculum developed by high school teachers and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the intention of the program is to help students learn about Alexander Hamilton, one of the least talked about founding fathers of the United States.

Various Chicago Public School students sit and watch Hamilton musical. Photo by Vanessa Burciaga

Various Chicago Public School students sit and watch Hamilton musical. Photo by Vanessa Burciaga

“Our goal is to ensure that students have a shot to see HAMILTON and use its words, music and staging to further their understanding and enjoyment of American History, music and drama.  Now we have the pleasure of expanding the education program outside of New York in Chicago and other cities around the country,” says the Gilder Lehrman Institute of America History, a New York-based organization that is devoted to the improvement of education.

Keyandre Jackson, a Sophomore at Richards Career Academy (RCA) had never before been to the Private Bank Theater or watched a live musical but has attended numerous plays in the past. Jackson expected the eleven Tony award winning musical to be a little different. “I felt like it was great, it was lit! My favorite part was when the King came out and was doing the imitation of King Julian and the next part after that, was when Hamilton was about get into the gun fight,” said Jackson. “I like that because it went in slow motion and the floor was spinning.”

Taya Boyd, also a student at RCA, is grateful to have been one of the students selected to attend the musical. “My favorite part was when King George came out dancing like the newspaper they were flinging around was money, it was as if they were in the club or something, it was really funny–you had to have been there,” says Boyd.

Both Taya and Keyondre highly recommend the musical to anyone currently debating if it’s something they’ll like or not. “But you have to take us with you!” said both students.

This is the 3rd out of 10 all-student matinee performances in 2017 scheduled for Chicago.  To learn more about this program, visit The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s website at www.gilderlehrman.org/hamilton.