Hamilton’s Greatest Innovation
Last year, the Broadway audience was overwhelmingly white with an average age in the mid-forties. The last people you would expect to see lined up eagerly outside the theater are innercity high school students, and yet that’s exactly what happened this spring, when 20,000 New York City students from public schools in low income populations were given the chance to see Broadway smash hit Hamilton. The tickets, only $10 each, were subsidized by the show’s producers and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The show itself came as the culmination of a curriculum designed to make history interesting and relevant using Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip hop songs and rap battles based on the founding fathers.
The program inspired tens of thousands of often underserved students, and hopefully inspired other producers to follow suit. Not only does an innovation like this bring history to life and get students excited about learning, it also introduces a new generation to the theatre and all that it can be. We need as many fresh, creative voices as we can get, and I can only hope some life-long fans were born this spring.