​M-PHS Students to see “Hamilton”

Marysville-Pilchuck students will be seeing the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” March 14th at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle thanks to the Hamilton Education Initiative (#EduHam) and Roy Klementsen, Drama teacher at M-PHS.

 Klementsen reached out to #EduHam when they first announced the program which offers $10 tickets (a “Ham”) to students who complete a hands-on curriculum, created by “Hamilton” producers in conjunction with New York’s Gilder Lehrman Institute.  The curriculum introduces students to the people and events of the founding of the United States, and also challenges them to create performance pieces in the same way that Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of “Hamilton”, composed his show about the life of Alexander Hamilton.  

Very few schools are chosen for this opportunity, and Klementsen finally got word that M-PHS would be invited to participate in the middle of January 2018.  Klementsen quickly teamed up with MPHS History teacher, and his Spring Musical conductor Brian Kesler to help lead the curriculum.  The student participants worked many hours during specially created Friday after school sessions and on their own to create the performance pieces required for this program.  Students would not be allowed to attend the performance if they did not complete the curriculum by the February 19th deadline.

“Hamilton” is a musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Miranda wrote the music, lyrics and book after being inspired by the 2004 biography

“Alexander Hamilton” by historian Ron Chernow. The musical incorporates hip-hop, rhythm and blues, pop music, soul music, traditional-type show tunes and unique color-conscious casting of the Founding Fathers and other historical figures.  It debuted Off-Broadway in February 2015, sold out and moved to Broadway in August 2015 where it’s been selling out ever since. In 2016 it was nominated for a record setting 16 Tony nominations and won 11 including Best Musical. It also won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and more awards since its debut.

On March 14, before watching a special matinee of the musical, a student from MPHS and students from other participating local schools, will get to perform their works onstage at the Paramount for each other and the cast.   54 students from M-PHS will be attending the show, and several of them auditioned their performance pieces for Klementsen and Kesler to be the student representing M-PHS on the Paramount stage. Laura Davis was chosen for her presentation of an outstanding monologue.  Students will also be participating in a Q & A with the cast before the show.

As anyone who has tried to get tickets to the 6-week sold out Seattle run knows, it’s nearly impossible to get a ticket, and if you did get one, it probably cost more than $10.  Ticket prices for “Hamilton” ranged from $175-$575 when they first went on sale, but now are only available on the secondary market for anywhere from $500-$2000.  One of the goals of #EduHam was to make tickets affordable to students who couldn’t even dream of affording a ticket to the show.

About #EduHam (from an article in “The Hollywood Reporter” 8/10/17)

The idea for #EduHam sprouted back when Miranda still envisioned Hamilton as a mixtape and his 2009 performance of the now-opening number at the White House went viral online. "In the six years I was writing Hamilton, teachers were already using the song in classrooms — YouTube comments said, 'My social studies teacher showed us this,' " he recalls. "As the show began to have success, we realized [the] need to prioritize kids in a real way, because this is going to be a tough ticket."

But Miranda, producer Jeffrey Seller and director Tommy Kail didn't want to simply offer discounted tickets for students. They were introduced to Gilder Lehrman by Ron Chernow, the author who wrote the Hamilton biography on which the musical is based, and the resulting curriculum — which teachers usually implement over two or three weeks — has since expanded to include research materials on more than 40 historical figures, and is also available in a simplified version for teachers of ESL students.

#EduHam follows the show into each new city thanks to Miranda's father, Luis A. Miranda Jr., who became the founding president of the Hispanic Federation, a leading Latino nonprofit, and has advised the likes of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Charles Schumer.