Sahuaro Students Learn History Through Hamilton Performance


Dorian Chase, News Co-Editor and Production

In February, members of Social Studies teachers, Mrs. Stevenson and Mrs. Martinez’s classrooms, were given the opportunity to see the extremely popular play, Hamilton. Mrs. Stevenson and Ms. Martinez won a contest held by the Gilder Lehrman Foundation to see the play in the ASU Gammage Auditorium (one of the last buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) for just 25 dollars, an incredibly small amount compared to the astronomical prices that the tickets usually go for. The show was on February 23rd, and fifty lucky students took advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The show was phenomenal, and the seats were impressive as well. At the start, there were student performances, and they were also quite good. The performances ranged from a slam poetry version of Common Sense by Thomas Paine, to a rap about the Boston Tea Party (which was interesting). In addition to this, there was a Q&A beforehand with a few of the cast members, which was enlightening, and really gave us the impression that the entire play was a labor of love on the part of everyone who was involved. Mrs. Stevenson said “It was awesome, it was such an amazing experience, and the seats we got (we got the second, third, and fourth row), it’s like we were on stage with the characters.” The pictures I got of the show, were the best pictures I’ve ever gotten of a play I’ve seen.

On the way to Phoenix, after the opening performances, and on the way back to Tucson, I asked three students questions about the play. In order of interest in the play, the interviews are below.

Isabel Brown: Senior

On the bus

Isabel first heard about Hamilton by way of her friends at UHS in 2016. At first she thought it was just a fad, something that would pass quickly and be over soon enough. This all changed when she went on a road trip with her family, and one of the CD’s they brought was the soundtrack to Hamilton on Broadway. Even though she couldn’t hear it in the car, Isabel did listen to the soundtrack on her own, and through the tears that she shed, she finally saw what her friends saw in the play. Needless to say, Isabel was more excited to see Hamilton than I have ever seen any reasonable person ever be excited about anything before in my life. It was scary, if I’m being totally honest.

After the opening performances

The opening performances were moving. Isabel thought it was good to see kids so passionate and interested in Hamilton, especially if they were willing to be perform in front of 3000 of their peers. At this point, Isabel had already cried once…

After the show

I had to take a picture of Isabel in a convenience store. Why? Well, after the play, she was crying for so long I had to wait until the effect of the play had worn off. During the play, she said that she “cried intermittently,” and “sobbed through the whole last song.” Hamilton, needless to say, was incredibly moving for Isabel. She came into the play prepared to be somewhat disappointed, as it wasn’t the same as the play on Broadway, but she said that it wasn’t even comparable to the CD she had been listening to.

Anthony Martinez Miranda: Senior

Anthony is the one in the sunglasses

On the bus

Anthony was one of a few students who came because of the deal, 25 dollars for a 700 dollar seat is really an unbeatable deal. Anthony was still looking forward to seeing the play, and of course, “the funness” that was sure to follow.

After the opening performances

Anthony was impressed with the performances by the different schools, and really liked that they included so many of our peers in such an interactive and fun way. Despite this, he thought the Q&A was “A little boring” and hoped that the play would be more interesting than that.

After the show

Anthony only had two words to describe the play after he had seen it, and I think it summarizes a lot of the emotions and experiences of most students involved. Those words were “Pretty good.”

Casey Canlas: Junior

On the bus

Casey, like Anthony, came because he really couldn’t pass up the deal that was set before him. Unlike Anthony, Casey admitted to flat out hating musicals, and was not super excited about the whole experience. I think the part he was most unexcited about was his girlfriend being genuinely mad at him for having such a rare opportunity, as she is a huge Hamilton fan.

After the opening performances

Casey had little to say about the opening performances, but he really genuinely enjoyed the slam poetry, as it was quite moving at parts. “They were alright, a couple were really good.”

After the show

I sat next to Casey during the show, so I can attest to the fact that he was thoroughly unimpressed throughout. He seemed most awestruck when the center of the stage started moving, not due to any of the theatrics or the singing. Casey’s favorite scenes in the play involved either the King of England, or the same actor dying twice. Those scenes were few and far between. Hamilton didn’t really change his opinion of musicals as a whole, but this one at least, he said was “alright.”

For some students, Hamilton was a moving experience, and I saw more than a few tears shed on the behalf of those attending; for other students, it was just a way to kill time on a Friday. Despite this, the standing ovation at the end proved how much it meant to a majority of the students from all the schools that attended, and even those who went to kill time, hated musicals, or were disinterested in the experience, had a day that they will certainly remember.

Below is a picture of the cast at curtain call, taken from some of the best seats in the Gammage Auditorium.