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M-PHS students get to see 'Hamilton'


March 21, 2018 | View PDF

Marysville-Pilchuck High School students were one of the few groups chosen to see the Broadway hit musical “Hamilton” on March 14 in Seattle.

Roy Klementsen, drama teacher at M-PHS, submitted the school to the Hamilton Education Initiative, which gives schools a chance to see the show for much less than it regularly costs.

The show is at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre for six weeks and it is sold out.

Originally tickets were $175 to $575, but due to the popularity of the show they are now on the secondary market for $500 to $2,000.

Many students said it was a great experience.

“I honestly had to keep asking myself for the first few songs if this was actual real life,” said M-PHS student Echo Crossland. “I’ve been waiting since I first heard the soundtrack in mid-2016 because drama club played it before the shows."

“It was a once in a lifetime experience. Best $20 I have ever spent,” said M-PHS student Tanner Lauzon.

‘Hamilton,’ which debuted in 2015, tells the historical story of Alexander Hamilton, an orphan from the Caribbean who rose to prominence as one of America’s founding fathers and would be instrumental in creating the first central U.S. Bank.

“I have never been so excited to learn about history … ‘Hamilton’ has taught me to not ‘throw away my shot’ [a refrain from one of the musical’s songs] and work for what I believe in,” said M-PHS student Jennica Harper.

The show is also known for infusing hip-hop and rap elements into the standard musical formula, as well as casting people of color for characters who were, in history, white.

“It was inspiring to see an ingenious interpretation of America's history, for few opportunities include such diversity and care,” said M-PHS student Fatima Al-Rikabi.

Klementsen had heard of the Hamilton Education Initiative in the past but M-PHS wouldn’t have a chance to participate until the show came to Seattle.

Once the production went on tour, Klementsen submitted an application for M-PHS and heard back this January.

“The odds of getting chosen were pretty low, so I didn't expect it to actually happen. When I got the email, I had to sit and read it over again to make sure that I was reading it correctly,” he said.

Students also had to finish a curriculum before going to the show as well.

“It involved studying not only the stories of our founding fathers, but also [playwright] Lin-Manuel Miranda’s thought process in creating ‘Hamilton,’” said Klementsen.

He teamed up with M-PHS history teacher Brian Kesler to help students finish the curriculum.

Students had to create their own short creative performance about the founding of the U.S. as part of the curriculum.

M-PHS student Laura Davis was chosen to give her performance, a poem, at the Paramount Theatre.

“Not every school would be chosen to have their performer actually perform, and we didn't find out Laura would be performing until a week before the trip,” said Klementsen.

In total 54 Marysville students got to see the performance and listen to a cast question-and-answer session.

“The entire program was, simply put, the experience of a lifetime,” said M-PHS student Eleanor Wilde. “To be in a theater full of people with the same interests and same views as yourself, and just share that experience with friends leaves me in awe even in the following days."

“It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was my first theater show and I don’t think it will ever be topped,” said M-PHS student Kaeli Coms.


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