DENVER (CBS4) – When the Broadway smash “Hamilton” comes to Denver, high school students will get a chance to see the show and express their own American history stories. On Wednesday, March 21, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts will host 2,700 high school students and teachers from the Denver area for a matinee performance.
The students will see the performance after having spent several weeks in their classrooms doing a special integrated curriculum about American history.
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“The students research original documents in the voices and about the lives of those people. They choose one, do the research, and then instead of an essay, they produce an original song, or poem, or rap piece, or dramatic scene,” said James Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Denver students will have the opportunity to perform their original song, poem, rap, or dramatic scene on the stage at the Buell Theatre. “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, producer Jeffrey Seller, and the Rockefeller Foundation worked with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to develop a school curriculum that works directly with the musical. It gives educators an opportunity to capitalize on the popularity of “Hamilton” and bring history to life for a new generation of young people.
“A young African American girl in Chicago, who stepped on stage and in a beautiful church choir voice sang George Washington from Valley Forge singing the blues. It was an unbelievable fusion of George Washington and his soldiers suffering at Valley Forge, which she empathized with profoundly and then put into the musical language that is hers,” Basker explained.