BPS Students Experience Hamilton: An American Musical
During the months of October and November, Boston Public Schools (BPS) high school students got the opportunity to see one of the most popular shows to hit the broadway stage: Hamilton.
Hamilton: An American Musical is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning show about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, and was inspired by the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow. With music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton brings a unique perspective to the story of the Founding Fathers, featuring hip hop and R&B sound as well as a diverse cast.
BPS high school students from various schools and programs got the opportunity to see the show through one of two ways: the Hamilton Education Program or Rodman Ride for Kids.
The Hamilton Education Program provides tens of thousands of high school students in low-income/Title I schools with the opportunity to engage in an innovative curriculum about the Founding Era and attend the musical Hamilton. The program started with funding from The Rockefeller Foundation and is a collaboration between the producers of Hamilton, the Miranda family, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. This national initiative features:
- A teacher-led curriculum that is grounded in original historic documents about the Founding Era
- A dedicated website that includes interviews with Lin-Manuel Miranda and other Hamilton cast members, an extensive collection of primary source documents, and interactive features aimed at exploring the life and times of Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Era
- A project that requires students to create original songs, poems, and dramatic scenes inspired by their analysis of primary source materials and lyrics from the musical
- A full-day experience for students and teachers that features student performances, a Q&A session with the cast, and attendance at a Hamilton Matinee
- An evaluation that measures the program’s impact on student learning
- A membership in the Institute’s Affiliate School Program which provides free American history resources, programs, and professional development
On October 18 and November 8, schools from all over New England participated and will participate in a day-long program, including 25 BPS high schools. Several students were chosen to perform their projects on stage at the Opera House, ranging from original songs and raps to spoken-word poems and skits. They also participated in a Q & A session with members of the cast.
To learn more about what Hamilton Education Day entails, check out the Boston Globe’s coverage of the October 18 event.
On October 24, Don Rodman of Rodman Ride for Kids invited the winners of the Rodman’s Ride and BPS Student Stories of Giving essay contest as well 130 additional students to attend a performance of Hamilton. Rodman for Kids is an umbrella matching-gift charity that raises funds for youth-focused social-service organizations that support at-risk children in Massachusetts.
For the past two years, the president of Rodman Ride for Kids, Don Rodman, hosted the Rodman’s Ride and Other Stories of Giving essay contest. The 20 student winners and honorable mentions were invited to see the show.
Don Rodman also extended the invite to students participating in the BAM program, a nationally recognized program that provides school-based group counseling and mentoring services to young men of color.
Other attendees included students from the the Department of Youth Services, McKinley South End Academy, Another Course to College, and Boston Community Leadership Academy. The 150 students attended the full production of Hamilton and engaged in an exclusive talkback session with the Hamilton cast following the show.
We’d like to send a huge thank you to Gilder Lehrman and Don Rodman for giving our students the opportunity to participate in this cultural phenomenon.