The Hamilton Revolution

by RACHEL MILBERG

It’s no secret that Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical Hamilton has become the hottest, and most exclusive, ticket on Broadway. After hearing the genius soundtrack backed by the interesting and unprecedented plotline, it is very simple to see the appeal in this new Broadway gem. With a storyline based entirely on the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton weaves together this historical masterpiece through extremely clever lyrics and a soundtrack that is almost entirely rap and hip hop music. “This is a story about America then, told by America now,” states Miranda, referring to the fact that most of the members of the cast are of different ethnicities. He explains that when thinking of the American Revolution, the first genre of music that comes to mind is hip hop. It’s fast paced, it’s constantly changing, and it’s by far one of the most exciting and unpredictable genres, similar to the feelings of the change that Revolution brings. He tells this history in a way that has completely shaken the foundation of modern Broadway musicals. Not only is the play appealing to thousands of tourists and Broadway fans, but it is also making its way into the classroom.

The Rockefeller Foundation has offered 1.46 million dollars to make it possible for around 20,000 AP United States History students to see the show for the price of $10.00. Whereas ticket prices for the show range anywhere from $70-$500, students can now see the show at an affordable price. The show has proven very beneficial for many history teachers, who often struggle to get their students interested in the very foundation of our country. Jim Cullen, a history teacher at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx, has even designed a curriculum based around Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and the musical Hamilton.  For educators, the show has provided a new sparkle to the Revolution and teachers like Cullen have found that tying in this music with their curriculum has made teaching all the more fun and interesting. The show makes it much more exciting to learn about America. The music of the revolution becomes hip hop and rap, changing cabinet meetings into rap battles and having these big-named historical figures be presented in a completely different way.

The primary reason for offering up this opportunity to AP History students is not only to educate them on American history but to also make the experience enjoyable. Teenagers enjoy drama; they enjoy fast paced, comedic, and interesting works of art. Combining these things with education makes for a rather perfect mix. From the beginning of America’s government to the election of 1800 to the first political love scandal to the most dramatic duel in history, Hamilton encompasses all of the facets of a good and entertaining story. For teachers, students, and history fanatics everywhere, Hamilton provides new meaning for the word “Revolution”.