Students get instructions before taking the stage April 18 at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit for an educational “Hamilton” event.

Students get instructions before taking the stage April 18 at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit for an educational “Hamilton” event.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Southfield students take shot to perform on ‘Hamilton’ stage

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published April 24, 2019

 Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology students Jared Ingram and Isaiah Ray perform “Hamilton/Burr Duel Song.”

Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology students Jared Ingram and Isaiah Ray perform “Hamilton/Burr Duel Song.”

Photo by Deb Jacques

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DETROIT — They’re just like their country — young, scrappy and hungry — and they did not throw away their shot to perform under the bright lights of Broadway in Detroit recently.

Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology students Myles Dungey, Jared Ingram and Isaiah Ray joined 13 other groups from schools throughout metro Detroit to perform April 18 on the “Hamilton” stage at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit.

The performances were part of the Hamilton Education Program, which provides students across the nation in Title I schools with the opportunity to engage in a curriculum about the birth of the U.S. and to attend the musical “Hamilton” with their classmates.

“Hamilton” is an American musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda that features a mix of rap, hip-hop and traditional musical theater pieces. It focuses on the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton. It is performed with a cast of performers from all races.

Hamilton immigrated to the U.S. just before the dawn of the Revolutionary War. He was quickly known for his work ethic and was George Washington’s right-hand man. He eventually went on to be Washington’s secretary of the treasury and formed the first U.S. bank.

Along the way, however, he had many hardships and feuds — most notably with Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr — and he met an untimely demise during a duel.

The Hamilton Education Program, or EduHam, is a teacher-led curriculum grounded in the original historical documents from the founding era. The program started with funding from The Rockefeller Foundation and a collaboration between “Hamilton” producers, the Miranda family, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

In the EduHam curriculum is a project that requires students to create original songs, poems and dramatic scenes inspired by the historical materials and the musical. The students then had a full-day experience featuring the student performances, a Q & A session with the “Hamilton” cast, and a matinee performance of the musical for a discounted ticket price.

Dungey, Ingram and Ray performed “Hamilton/Burr Duel Song,” which focuses on the 1804 duel between the two men in Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr shot Hamilton during the duel, and Hamilton died as a result, ending the years-long rivalry between the two men.

“The piece ended up being a collaborative effort of all the little brain-children that we had from listening to the soundtrack,” Dungey said. “I had listened to the whole ‘Hamilton’ soundtrack before because I love the musical. So I wanted to do the fight between Burr and Hamilton because that was my favorite part of the show, so I gave them all a playlist of all the songs that would be imperative to that kind of piece.”

The students said they were a little nervous at first, but the crowd went wild for Dungey, Ray and Ingram’s performance.

“At first I was really nervous, but once we got up there it was actually fun,” Ray said.

“We just got up there and had fun,” Ingram added.

All three students gave their thanks to the cast of “Hamilton” for the opportunity.

Southfield A&T Choir Director Jeff Martin said he and Drama Director Debra Wilson helped the students with their piece, but the students ultimately took the reins on the creative process.

“I think probably the most enjoyable thing is just to watch the boys be creative all on their own, and they just asked me for little things, and I just stepped back and let them create,” Martin said. “And that brings a lot of joy to me, and I know that does to Ms. Wilson as well.”

Chaundre Hall-Broomfield, who plays Hercules Mulligan in Act I and James Madison in Act II, hosted the performances.

Hall-Broomfield emphasized the importance of making the stage a safe space for the students to perform.

“We grew up in a culture where judgment and shame and guilt is a norm, where people are taught to hide their feelings and to constrain how they really feel because it will make other people feel uncomfortable, and there’s no room for that in art,” Hall-Broomfield said. “In art, you need to have a space where you can feel free to cry, yell, scream, be angry, be happy, laugh. So I always encourage a safe space with these events, because, you know, the norm in a high school classroom is to laugh at your classmates (if they) try to do something vulnerable. … These kids need to be a support system.”

“Hamilton” wrapped up the Detroit leg of its third national tour April 21.

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