Producers of the acclaimed "Hamilton," a hip-hop infused biography of the first U.S. treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, have announced a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation to finance a series of matinees for 20,000 New York City high school juniors.
The $1.4 million grant will allow students, at least 78 percent of whom come from low-income families, to attend the Broadway show for $10 (the bill which bears Hamilton's likeness) and to interact with the cast.
The musical tells Hamilton's immigrant tale using a cast of black, Asian-American, and Latino actors portraying George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and his nemesis, Aaron Burr.
“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,” said "Hamilton" creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda in a statement.
The Rockefeller partnership will produce a study guide and integrate the show into social studies classes on democracy.
The partnership may also allow some students to participate in the arts. According to a 2014 State of the Arts report, 20 percent of New York City public schools have no full or part-time arts teacher, 16 percent have no arts or cultural partnerships, and 10 percent have no dedicated arts room. The report asserts that reductions in arts education "have fallen disproportionately on the New York's lower-income neighborhoods, especially the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn."
“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 cultivating a deep love of learning," said New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.
This story is part of our Next America: Workforce project, which is supported by a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
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As Senior Digital Editor for The Next America, Jamila Robinson is the ambassador/evangelist for data, metrics and technology in Next America storytelling. Most recently, she led and implemented an award-winning strategy for immersive storytelling and grew wired, print, subscriber and social media audiences through content structure and planning at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jamila was a fellow at the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.