Students Perform at ‘Hamilton’
By ARMIN PASUKANOVIC and TOMMY MA
“Hamilton was the scariest but best two minutes of my life,” said Adriel James ’20, who got to perform on stage with the hit Broadway musical.
Not only did U.S. History students get to see Hamilton on November 14, but James and two other students, Adja Thomas ’20 and Pheona Angoy ’20, also got a chance to perform in front of an audience of 1,200 people at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is a musical that contains songs and raps about the life of Alexander Hamilton. The show has been a hit, winning a Pulitzer Prize in drama, an Emmy, two Oscars, and three Tony awards.
Tickets can range from $200 to $2,000. But Midwood won 50 tickets, and lucky U.S. History classes were given the chance to go as long as they returned their trip slips and paid the $10 fee.
“I would definitely recommend other people go to see Hamilton,” Tamo Muladze ’20 said. “The experience was magical, and it enriches you with historical knowledge about the United States. My favorite part was the choreography and the setting. There were a lot of beautiful chandeliers and lights.”
“I liked how the cast was very fast at transitioning between songs,” said Ranor Hasangjekaj ’20. “They were very talented, and it was a fun and enjoyable experience.”
In front of the crowd, Midwood’s Thomas, James, and Angoy performed an acapella version of a song they wrote on the debate over the Bill of Rights.
Their performance “showed clear influence,” U.S. history teacher and chaperone Ms. Taylor Grode said. “They added another important piece of American history: the Bill of Rights debate.”
Angoy played Alexander Hamilton, Thomas played George Washington, and James played Thomas Jefferson. They sang each character’s perspective on the Bill of Rights.
“It was a very stressful process,” Thomas said. “Writing the song was difficult because we had to write about a time that we weren’t around for and match it to a certain beat.”
With a massive audience to perform in front of, Thomas explained, the girls felt nervous.
James added how “nerve racking” it was waiting for their turn to perform.
However, when the time came, the three students “were all cool as cucumbers,” Ms. Grode said. “They each have experience singing and performing live, so they were calm and collected. I was the nervous one!”
“The performance was an engaging and upbeat take on what could otherwise be a dry topic,” Ms. Grode said. “They got the crowd into it. All three girls are wonderful singers, and their voices filled the whole theater.”
Thomas said, “Towards the end, the crowd was clapping along to the beat.”
James added, “It was a movie moment. I would rate the performance a two thumbs up. It was amazing.”
“The reward of acting,” Thomas said, “is that you have a lot of fun, and I think that’s very important.”
Ms. Grode said, “The performance left me proud of them for the time and effort they invested in the project, and delighted to see them share their silly and creative sides with other New York City students.”
Roie Cohen contributed to this article.