Hamilton: Wanna Be In The Room Where It Happens

Alex Pearson, Staff Writer

On November 6th, ninety Hughson High School students headed to San Francisco to see the famed Broadway musical, Hamilton. This day the entire cast performed the musical production specifically for and audience of 1,900 high school students from all over California. 

Hughson High School students were able to attend the play for only $50.00 including their transportation because of a grant that was won by history teacher Amy McAndrews.

I have applied two times prior to this in hopes we would get picked!  And finally, we did!” said McAndrews. “Even if you know nothing of the founding fathers or Broadway, this work of art will teach you of the struggles and ambitions of the founders. There are many repeating themes throughout the production that can easily cross over to our time. I’m not throwing away my shot, I wanna be in the room where it happens, what is a legacy, and running out of time are just some of the hip hop themes displayed in the play that cross over from the artists of our day to the founders of our country over two centuries ago.” 

As part of the grant requirements, students were asked to complete an assignment that drew inspiration from Hamilton himself or a historical person directly connected to Hamilton and then base that performance on historical fact.  Many students from HHS created poems, sang songs, or reenacted small original skits. All students were then asked to perform their original piece to an audience of HHS judges. HHS judges were tasked with finding the one best performance from Hughson High to submit to the Orpheum Theater and the Hamilton production crew.  The Hamilton production teams would then review all the submitted tapes from the hundred varying schools attending the Hamilton play that day and would choose what they considered the top 10 best of the best. Those selected few would then be invited backstage and in onto the stage with the Hamilton cast to perform their original piece. 

After the submission of the tapes, Hughson High School was informed that the student tape they had submitted of senior Megan Rohn and senior Shannon McNertney was selected and those two students would be invited to come onto the stage to perform. 

Upon arrival at the Orpheum, Rohn and McNertney were escorted into the back of the theater with teacher Amy McAndrews to prepare from their on-stage performance. Once there, Rohn and McNertney were introduced, by the actor playing George Washington in the Hamilton play, to the 1,900 other high school students in attendance.  Rohn and McNety then performed their original song written about the first 10 amendments set to the music of Hamilton’s “10 Dual Commandments.”

“It was nerve-racking at first but once we got up there and got going into it it was fun,” said Shanon McNertney. 

 After the performance by Rohn and McNertney, several of the cast members of Hamilton came out for a short Q&A.  The questions that the cast responded to were all submitted by varying high school groups in the audience. Students then proceeded to lunch in front of the Civic Center in San Francisco. 

After a long wait, the students finally got to watch Hamilton. The play started out with a prologue song “Hamilton.” The play was separated into two acts with an intermission in the middle. 

The play is a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the United States of America and the right hand to George Washington. The story of his life from his birth, to how he came to be on the ten-dollar bill.

Sophomore Austin Pereira, who saw the play said, “The Hamilton play was like watching someone watching their life flash before their eyes. It’s just one big blur of all the good things and mistakes that came from his life. If I had the option, I would see it again and would recommend 10/10, its worth the shot.”