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Rapping bastard son, is not a label someone would give Alexander Hamilton, unless you happen to be watching Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.” On October 21, Social Studies teacher Franco Scardino took students from the AP Government class and Jaime Baranoff’s AP U.S. History class to see the highly acclaimed musical “Hamilton” at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Miranda injects vivacious music into the tired vernacular of the Founding Fathers, reinventing the overtold story of rebels transforming the amorphous colonies into a nation. Miranda proves through “Hamilton” that musicals can evolve to fit the time in which they were made, despite being about the dead white men who founded this nation.
“Hamilton” details the rise and fall of Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda), using rap battles that lift the men out of history books, not only modernizing them, but humanizing them. Senior Jane Zheng said, “The beginning of american politics were all very detached because I thought they were all boring old white men.” She continues by saying that “the musical made me realize that our founding fathers are just as flawed and human as we are.”
Mr. Scardino described the musical as “one of the top three or four productions” he has ever seen. “[It’s] cutting edge theatre and I wanted to expose the kids to that,” he claims. He commends the musical’s ability to bring “together different styles and genres of theatre.” Similarly, he wanted to use the trip to bring “together the seniors and juniors for a theatrical production on the founding fathers.”
For senior Thomas Wong, “Hamilton” was a lively and inventive musical as “it had a lot of creativity and [he liked] how they put a hip-hop theme to the 18-19th century setting.” For him, it was a perfect way to destress after many trying Townsend Harris weeks.
Mr. Scardino also commented on the provocative nature of “Hamilton.” Many of the actors don’t share the same ethnic background as their counterparts. [For instance,] George Washington (Christopher Jackson) is played by a black man.” He believes that “when you portray all the Founding Fathers [as] people of color with the exception of one, it really challenges people to just think about race.”