Hamilton, the Broadway blockbuster musical, opened at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis on August 29 (and it runs through October 7). Having had the opportunity to see it, I must say, yes, the show is worth every murmur of the hype. But Hamilton is much more than two hours and 45 minutes of great music, dancing, humor, and history told through hip-hop. About the life of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton has also rapped its way into our education system.
In conjunction with the six-week run of the musical, students from 30 local high schools are participating in a learning program about Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers, called EduHam. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the official education program for Hamilton, created this classroom-based, four-week curriculum as a way to teach American history.
EduHam’s website includes interviews with Lin-Manuel Miranda and other Hamilton cast members, and the program provides students a chance to see the show. Then, the students create an original work based on their classroom studies—which could mean rap, poetry, scenes, or monologues.
The top presentation at each school is selected by the teachers and presented to Gilder Lehrman. The chosen performances will appear on the Hennepin Theatre Trust stage in front of the students’ peers, the teachers, and Hamilton cast members, who also participate in a Q&A.
Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller says, about the Minneapolis program, “Our goal is to ensure 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. We’ve had the pleasure of expanding the education program outside of New York in Los Angeles, Chicago, and multiple cities around the country.”
The EduHam program dates in Minneapolis are Thursday, September 27 and Thursday October 4.