Broward County

These kids won the ‘Hamilton’ lottery. By studying.

Some of the 2,500 South Florida high school students and teachers at a Hamilton Education Program matinee performance of ‘Hamilton’ at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 16, 2019.
Some of the 2,500 South Florida high school students and teachers at a Hamilton Education Program matinee performance of ‘Hamilton’ at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 16, 2019. Courtesy Broadway Across America/ Hamilton

Here’s one way to score a ticket for “Hamilton,” the touring Broadway sensation: Study American history.

That’s what more than 2,500 South Florida high school kids, along with their teachers at 32 schools in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, did to find themselves in “the room where it happens” at Wednesday’s matinee performance.

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Some of the 2,500 South Florida high school students and teachers at a Hamilton Education Program matinee performance of ‘Hamilton’ at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 16, 2019. Courtesy Broward Across America/Hamilton

As part of the Hamilton Education Program, the kids spent several weeks inside classrooms studying American history through a specially designed, integrated curriculum about the title character, Alexander Hamilton, and the nation’s Founding Fathers.

At Wednesday’s reward for all that studying, the students and teachers — at schools including Fort Lauderdale High, Booker T. Washington Senior High, Miami Jackson Senior High, North Miami Senior High and Dillard High — saw a matinee performance of writer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s and Miamian orchestrator Alex Lacamoire’s “Hamilton” at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

The students and teachers also got to participate in a Q&A with the “Hamilton” cast, which includes Joseph Morales in the title role and Nik Walker as his foe, Aaron Burr. Miranda is currently reviving his leading role in Puerto Rico to help with hurricane recovery efforts.

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Members of the ‘Hamilton’ cast take part in a Q&A session with South Florida high school students and teachers at an EduHam matinee performance at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 16, 2019. Courtesy Broadway Across America/Hamilton

In addition, some of the students from the 32 South Florida schools were able to deliver original works they created based on their classroom studies through songs, rapping, poetry readings and spoken word performances before their peers.

So if you’re not a student or a teacher tapping into the Hamilton Education Program and you missed out on the “Hamilton” experience, there’s always the Ham4Ham lottery program, where you can try to score $10 tickets for one of the few remaining performances.

Read Next

“Hamilton” closes its Broward run Sunday.

The musical history lesson will be back next season at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. The Miami dates will be announced Jan. 25.

An #EduHam has not been confirmed for the Miami run, but a spokeswoman for Broadway Across America said it’s likely.

“Our goal is to ensure students have a shot to see ‘Hamilton’ and use its words, music and staging to further their understanding and enjoyment of American history, music, and drama,” the musical’s producer, Jeffrey Seller, said about the Fort Lauderdale program. “We’ve had the pleasure of expanding the education program outside of New York in Los Angeles, Chicago, and multiple cities around the country.”

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Some of the 2,500 South Florida high school students and teachers at a Hamilton Education Program matinee performance of ‘Hamilton’ at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 16, 2019. Courtesy Broadway Across America/Hamilton

The Hamilton Education Program is offered by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in tandem with Miranda and Seller.

Lehrman President James G. Basker called the education project component “transformational” in a release.

“’Hamilton’ has struck a chord with our nation’s students because it embodies what great history education is all about: bringing the past to life and fostering connections with the exceptional individuals and moments that have made us who we are. This program empowers students to reclaim their own narrative and teachers to bridge classroom learning with the stage.”

There’s that. And those contemporary “Hamilton” tunes are pretty catchy, too.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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