INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Two students in Indianapolis will have the experience of a lifetime tomorrow when they perform an original song on the “Hamilton” stage before seeing the musical in Chicago. And even better – 100 of their classmates will get to watch them and the musical thanks to a foundation that is subsidizing their tickets.
Each year the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History sponsors an educational opportunity for students from schools that qualify for Title I dollars.
They subsidize tickets (through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation) that allows students to attend “Hamilton” in Chicago for just $10. In exchange, students must complete certain lesson plans, including presenting an original creative writing project based off the Revolutionary time period.
The students at Lawrence North were invited to apply for the program in August. Dana Altemeyer and social studies teacher Rachel Couch have been working with the students since then to complete the required lesson plans and prepare their original work.
They sent video of the students’ presentations to the Gilder Lehrman Institute, and two of the students were invited to be part of the 12 groups performing on stage before watching “Hamilton.”
Caleb Vaughn and Simone Bryant, both juniors, will perform their original song before watching the musical at the Private Bank Theater in Chicago.
Vaughn and Bryant recorded the original background track at a studio and then wrote a song envisioning Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton at the Constitutional Convention. They have been rehearsing for hours to make it as professional as possible.
Couch says this is a great opportunity for the students because for many of them it will be their first time at the theater.