Outreach Education Participates in Hamilton Event at Kentucky Center for the Arts
Author: Rae Ann Sauer
On Monday, October 17, with Broadway flair, SAR Outreach Education “rose up” and gave it our best “shot” as a partner in a PBS documentary screening and sing-along of Great Performances: Hamilton’s America. The film preview of Hamilton’s America was produced by PBS and sponsored by the Kentucky Center for the Arts, Kentucky Educational Television (KET), and StageOne Family Theatre. The official premier of the documentary on October 21 launched PBS’ Arts Fall Festival hosted by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the Broadway hit Hamilton. Miranda would have felt at home with the sold-out Kentuckiana crowd eager to be a part of the recent Hamilton craze. The SAR partnered with the Frazier History Museum, Historic Locust Grove, and the Safiyyah Dance Company to create a celebration of all things Hamilton during a “Revolutionary Reception” held between the two screenings of the film.
The evening’s attractions drew over 1,000 people to the Kentucky Center’s Bomhard Theatre. They peppered the audience with t-shirts campaigning for “Burr 1800” and others testifying to “The Dueling Commandments.” SAR members filled the air with historic tunes from our country’s earliest beginnings. Representing a uniformed officer and a militia soldier, the colonial drummer and fifer offered up songs that may have been familiar to Alexander Hamilton.
When the first showing let out, ticket holders made their way to a Revolutionary Reception. A long line quickly formed for the SAR’s 18th century selfie station. “Want-to-be Colonists” chose to express their patriotism by selecting attire from a collection of colonial uniforms, tri-corn hats, mop caps, cowhide and linen haversacks, along with other accoutrements. KET’s green screen transported the new patriots into one of six different backdrops provided by PBS from the Hamilton Broadway show.
Genealogy was center stage as history enthusiasts young and old, bitten by the Hamilton “bug,” surrounded the Genealogical Research Library table during the reception. Could I be related to Alexander Hamilton? As they eagerly traced the graphic display of the Hamilton family tree, attendees were encouraged to research a Hamilton connection. Others shared with the SAR their documented lineage with Founding Figures including Aaron Burr.
As our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton’s connection to the SAR presentation on early colonial currency just made “cents.” Wearing a Continental Army uniform, an SAR interpreter shared his collection of our nation’s earliest signed currency that at times wasn’t “worth a continental.” While money always interests people, visitors came away in disbelief that making change sometimes required actually cutting a coin into pieces.
A highlight of the evening’s performance was the spontaneous sing-along led by musician Harry Pickens. The sing-along was a lively event where musical ability, drama training, and enthusiasm blended seamlessly across all demographics to join Pickens on stage and sing such songs from the Broadway show as “You’ll Be Back,” “The Schuyler Sisters,” and of course “Alexander Hamilton.”
To experience the performance for yourself, we invite you to check out these links: