a/k/a Where I Am and Where I Want To Go
“Miranda, are you using an excuse to blog about Hamilton for a grade?”
The answer is,
In seriousness, I have seen Hamilton as a musical that theatre teachers could get behind since the day I first decided to sit down and listen to the soundtrack. I first gave Hamilton a listen the evening after the closing of Orphan Train, a show I performed in with the UWM Theatre Department. A little background on Oprhan Train — it was a devised play writing collaborative among the cast and the director, Robin Mello, on real accounts of the post-civil war movement known as the Orphan Train movement. For an overview of the Orphan Train movement, see this link.
Orphan Train was one of the most educational experiences for me as an actor and theatre maker in general. It was no surprise that when I finally sat down and listened to the Hamilton soundtrack I fell in love immediately since I was flooded with emotions and ideas about how the rest of my career would go.
The focus of my blog is to apply the concepts we learn from class and apply it to how Hamilton can be an educational experience for young people, and not just a musical that evokes emotions.
“So what do you already know about Hamilton, huh?’
-Hamilton was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
-He has also written and originated the role of Usnavi in In The Heights.
-In an interview for Playbill written by Michael Gioia, Miranda talks about how he taught English at his old high school.
-Miranda cites the TV show The West Wing and Ron Chernow’s biography on Alexander Hamilton as inspirations for his musical.
-In 2009, he first performed the titular song for the play at the White House to Barack and Michelle Obama, which was responded to will laughter.
“What about Hamilton do you want to learn?”
-How to write a lesson plan for a future theatre class around Hamilton.
-What are the ways that we can apply reality pedagogy to Hamilton?
“What about Hamilton have you learned?”
-History can be taught when applying modern culture.
-A musical absolutely has business being in the classroom; and it is not limited to theatre class.