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Not Throwing Away My Shot: Kimmel Center Education Intern experiences Hamilton through unique EduHam program

Not Throwing Away My Shot: Kimmel Center Education Intern experiences Hamilton through unique EduHam program

Posted by:  Nije’e Patton-Johns, Fall 2019 Education Intern on November 15, 2019

Nije’e Patton-Johns is a student at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School and currently an Education Department Intern on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus for the fall 2019 semester. As part of its mission to engage Philadelphia's diverse communities through performance and education, the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus offers FREE  arts education opportunities, including internships for high school and college students

Nije'e attended an exclusive matinee performance of HAMILTON through EduHam, a special integrated curriculum for high school students studying American history focused on Alexander Hamilton and the nation’s Founding Fathers. EduHam is supported by the Gilder Lerhman Institute of American History.

Photo by Morgan Horell, Marketing Content Associate

Ever since the beginning of high school, I was always aware of the Hamilton play. I knew it existed and knew that it was about a dude named Alexander Hamilton. That was about it. So when my AP U.S History teacher told me that our class had the opportunity to go see Hamilton, thanks to the Gilder Lehrman Education Program, I really wasn't that excited.

 It would have been my first time seeing a musical so I thought it would be boring. However, I did know that it was a huge deal based off of some of the kids' reaction to the news. One of my friends, Ramslyne, almost cried when she heard. She even made an Instagram countdown twenty days prior to the actual day. Kids in my class are very passionate about the musical. Every time some kid would just randomly blurt Hamilton lyrics out loud during class I would say to myself, ‘It's not that serious.’ But oh man, was I about to have a change of thought.

Photo by Nije’e Patton-Johns

So fast forward to the morning before the show, nothing about my attitude changed. I was a little excited but that was only because I got to miss a day of school. However, when the show started I was instantly hooked. It was like I was in a trance or under some type of spell. I don't even know if I was able to blink for the first two minutes.  First of all, the music was pretty catchy. The soundtrack had a lot of hip hop, jazz, and I even got a little bit of island vibes from it which was surprising. Me and my friends were dancing to every song, except for the sad ones of course. Some of my favorite songs were “My shot”, “Helpless,” “That would be enough,” and many more. The cast was amazing – they did an amazing job bringing the show to life. I think Lin-Manuel Miranda did a good job of emphasizing the importance of a diverse cast. For my show, Hamilton was black, which had me surprised.

Photo by Nije’e Patton-Johns

During the intermission I was able to do a little research and was able to follow the whole cast who performed on Instagram. My overall favorite character had to be Eliza. She was just so cute and I was just rooting for her throughout the whole show. Her story was so intriguing. Every time she would come on the stage I would get excited. Overall the show was amazing. I’m pretty sure the audience would agree with that statement. The atmosphere and energy that the audience gave off was amazing. I felt like I was watching a movie in my living room with my family.  I even almost cried and that’s a lot coming from someone like me, a person out of touch with their emotions. I was just really overwhelmed with emotion after the show was over. I went home and just started watching the original cast perform. I’m still hooked on it today.

I can't believe I saw Hamilton. I wish I could go back in time and just enjoy it again. Hamilton made me ponder on these three questions: Who lives, who dies, and who tells your story? 

Photo by Morgan Horell, Marketing Content Associate

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