Once in lifetime ‘Hamilton’ performance for students who participated in EduHam

Steven Guzman

Julissa Rangel

Sitting only five yards away from the cast members of one of the decade’s most successful musicals isn’t something many juniors in high school can say they’ve done.

Earlier within the fall semester, students enrolled in U.S. history were required to participate in a project called the Hamilton Education Initiative or EduHam. They could either work individually or in a group to produce and present a creative sketch that captured a historical event or figure of the Hamilton era. The projects required analyzation of primary sources as well as songs from the play, in order to give proper insight to the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton. In return, EduHam provided students with free admission to the live performance of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Broadway hit “Hamilton: An American Musical” on Oct. 12.

On the day of the event, 80 formally-dressed students from Daniel Pearl Magnet High School arrived at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood and received news that they had seats at the front and center seats for not only student performances and the Q-and-A with the cast but also for the nearly three-hour play. Among one of the 15 student acts was junior Emely Felix, who performed her original poem about the impact former first lady Abigail Adams had on the women’s suffrage movement.

Following the student performances, there was a brief Q-and-A with cast members Isaiah Johnson (George Washington), Jeffery Duffy (ensemble), Andrew Wojtal (ensemble), Jennifer Locke (ensemble) and Raven Thomas (Angelica Schuyler). It was an intimate look into the lives and careers of the actors that the 2,600 students in attendance would never otherwise get to see.

“It’s important to see people on stage and in the media,” cast member Raven Thomas said. “It’s important to see that people are equally represented.”

After lunch, students were treated to the performance, which was exhilarating, to say the least. Everything was conducted beautifully: the music, the lighting, the choreography, everything about the play was alluring. The emotion expressed, the passion that went into the actors’ performances and the enthusiasm of the audience was beyond captivating. Throughout the entire performance, the only thing that came to mind was how incredibly lucky I was to resonate with such a racially diverse cast and play. American history never has nor will ever have the same effect on me, or anyone else who attended the play I’m sure, after the performance.