On-Air Highlights

Hamilton: A Story of US

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Jun 20, 2016 11:20 AM

In New York City this spring, thousands of students from underserved neighborhoods will see Hamilton as part of an innovative American history curriculum. Captivated by the hip hop music and engaging with both historic and contemporary issues, the students explore the stories and personalities of America's Revolution in their own words and musical performances.

Hamilton: A Story of US is a one hour Fourth of July holiday special that features the voices of the students, the Hamilton cast members, biographer Ron Chernow, the irresistible super hit Hamilton score, and Pulitzer Prize winner Lin-Manuel Miranda -- who says that Hamilton is "a story about America then, told by America now." While bringing diverse voices of young citizens to the old and new questions of a democratic republic, the program will engage a broad spectrum of audiences and find rebroadcast applications on several national holidays and during Black History Month.

After completing the Hamilton Education Program, students will have an extensive knowledge of the Founding Era in American history; be able to perform critical analysis of the informational historic text; and design, produce, and perform an artistic piece based on the primary source materials. This performance piece will consist of a rap, song, poem, monologue, or scene either individually or in two or three person groups.

NPR will capture the initial discussions of the classes before they see Hamilton onstage, pre and post-performance meetings with Mr. Miranda, as well as classroom follow ups. The production will blend the natural multi-track sounds of these sessions with on-location recordings, and music from the show. The project, led by freelance arts reporter and producer Jeff Lunden, senior producer Steve Rathe, and NPR producer and sound designer Suraya Mohamed, has the enthusiastic cooperation of Hamilton's author and star Lin-Manuel Miranda who said, "I get videos from 4-year-olds to college students of them performing songs from this show. They're learning songs they like and weirdly, learning U.S. history in the process."

The special will also include members of the Broadway production team, the Gilder-Lehrman Foundation -- developer of the new Hamilton Education Program -- the Rockefeller Foundation, which has helped fund the project, and Ron Chernow, author of the biography on which the musical is based.

Hear the special on WITF 89.5 & 93.3 July 1 at 9:00am and July 4 at 9:00am. 

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