ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of the most popular musicals taking over Broadway is set to make its Albuquerque debut in early 2021. But first, Hamilton is helping bring some history education to New Mexico students online while they stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Broadway musical Hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton and America’s Founding Fathers. Now, it’s bringing the history lesson to students here in New Mexico.
“A lot of people are schooling at home and certainly that’s the case in New Mexico. So we wanted to make sure that everyone knew that this was available from Hamilton,” said Terry Davis, marketing manager at Popejoy Hall. “Lin-Manuel Miranda took a biography of Alexander Hamilton as his source material and decided to turn it into a musical. Then he said, you know, what we can do is show how it gets done, have kids actually do that.”
The Hamilton Education Program, or EduHam, is put on through the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The experience follows the tour across the country, giving students access to resource materials about the founding era, then inspiring them to make their own creative interpretations.
“There’s interviews with cast members, there’s lots of stuff about some of the Founding Fathers, and then you can go and create your own little two-minute vignette of something you’ve been doing research on,” said Davis. “It sparks the creativity in you while you’re also learning about the founding of this country.”
In light of the coronavirus outbreak with kids home from school, EduHam is putting the experience online. Students can log on, do some research, then make their own hip-hop songs, poems and other pieces, just like how Miranda did when he created Hamilton.
“When you’re making something, you really have to focus on it,” said Davis. “Whatever it is you’re going to do, the transfer from your reading of it, your access of that material to something you are creating, that really takes a lot of your time, a lot of your mental effort, a lot of your spirit to put into this thing and it just really engages you from probably a good long time.”
Miranda says the experience is available across the country. Every week, they’ll even highlight some creations on the EduHam site and Twitter.
“Whether you’re in Brooklyn or Boise, Fairbanks or Florida, Milwaukee or Manassas, you’re going to learn how to create pieces based on primary source documents, just like I did and make performance all your own,” said Miranda. “Over the coming weeks, I’m home, just like you so I’m looking forward to watching the videos you submit to the Hamilton Education Program website and sharing them with the Hamilton team. Have fun, dive deep, and take a shot.”
Hamilton comes to Albuquerque’s Popejoy Hall in January 2021 so now is the time to get this interactive history lesson before seeing it on stage.
“We’re very excited to have Hamilton coming in January of next year and an awful lot of students know this show. We’re very excited to have it, and of course, the students think of this as a great vehicle,” said Davis. “Since it hit Broadway, that’s been the number one question: when will Hamilton be in Popejoy Hall. Usually it takes a lot longer for a Broadway hit to get to Albuquerque, get to New Mexico. But this one, you know, it won its Tonys in 2017, it’s here in 2021. That’s not bad that we’re getting it while it’s still running in New York, in the first-run tour.”
You can catch Hamilton at Popejoy from Jan. 19 through Feb. 7 next year. Tickets are not on sale yet.