Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin, NYC Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Gilder Lehrman executive director Lesley Herrmann have announced an educational partnership to provide 20,000 NYC public school students with the opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway and integrate the show into classroom studies. This educational initiative is made possible through a $1.46 million grant by The Rockefeller Foundation to Gilder Lehrman.
Through this program, which will launch in 2016, students will gain access to a dynamic and contemporary introduction to one of the nation’s Founding Fathers and the infancy of our democracy. The Broadway blockbuster will be combined with classroom studies, encouraging further engagement with and appreciation of American history.
Tickets will cost only $10 for the students, who will attend Wednesday matinees at which they will have interaction with members of the cast.
“Our goal is to ensure that all students have a shot to see Hamilton and use its words, music and staging to further their enjoyment of American History, music and drama,” said Hamilton producer, Jeffrey Seller.
“The Rockefeller Foundation recognizes Hamilton as a groundbreaking work of genius and everyone should have the opportunity to see it, regardless of their resources. This is doubly true of students who are finding their passions and deciding on career paths,” said Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Works like this don’t come around very often, and when they do we must make every effort to maximize their reach. We are making a small down payment towards inspiring the next generation of historians, artists, singers and musicians, and it’s one that fits squarely within our goal of expanding opportunities to achieve positive impact.”
The Rockefeller Foundation has a long history of supporting the arts and humanities, fueled by a belief that the cultivation of aesthetic sensibilities through literature, music, and other fine arts is essential to the well being of humanity. Today’s announcement underscores the Foundation’s commitment to nurturing the vitality of New York City’s cultural institutions and the role of the arts as a part of and catalyst for social change.
“It is a dream come true to have a program like this exist in connection to Hamilton. I can’t wait to perform for a theater full of students who are learning about our Founding Fathers in class and seeing how it still relates to their own lives on stage. They will see Hamilton‘s story, and I’m hopeful that the stories it will inspire in them, will change our lives in ways we can’t even anticipate,” added Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The first group of participating high schools will be selected by the New York City Department of Education and will include schools across the five boroughs with large numbers of students eligible for free/reduced lunch. The Gilder Lehrman Institute will develop the educational programming for students and teachers designed around the Hamilton experience and oversee the distribution of tickets and scheduling of school groups to attend the show. The “Hamilton Study & Performance Guide” will include an online ‘Hamilton’ portal for students and teachers, and printed classroom materials that will offer students a creative platform for developing and producing their own original performances of poetry, rap, songs, scenes and other art expressions. The first exclusive student matinee will take place on April 13, 2016.
“Social studies has always been my passion, and this partnership will be transformational for New York City kids,” said New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “This musical will ignite curiosity and give teachers and students the opportunity to experience American History in a unique way while connecting to the class curriculum and will cultivate a deep love of learning. I’m thrilled by this partnership and grateful to Mr. Seller, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American Study for enriching our students’ with this incredible work of art.”
“Hamilton offers a great opportunity to hook a whole new generation on American history. Students will learn about the Founding Fathers in ways that speak to them from the heart instead of a textbook,” states Lesley Herrmann.
“This will be a game changer for my students and will undoubtedly provide excitement and joy around American History,” said Principal Moses Ojeda of Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School. “New York City is so rich in culture, and my students will now be exposed to a phenomenal production they can relate to. I wouldn’t be surprised if this experience creates a new passion and love of learning and I’m grateful to all partners for their efforts.”
Hamilton producers are making tickets for this educational partnership available for $70 each, $60 of which is being subsidized by The Rockefeller Foundation.
With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, directed by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical direction and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of founding father Alexander Hamilton.