Monday, July 17, 2017


Any reader of this blog knows that my family and I are huge fans of Hamilton.  We've each seen it twice (although not all together)  And I've been saying since it started that I couldn't wait for the high school version of this to come out, because to me it seems like a perfect musical for kids to perform in.

 Last week, we got to test the theory when my son attended Hamilton Camp as part of the Dream Big Performing Arts Camps in our Edgewater/Andersonville neighborhood.

As you can imagine, it was an immensely popular camp (we got in off of the wait list)  The class had two sections-- one for kids 6-8 and one for kids 8-12.  I lobbied to get him the older camp, and it was fine.  He was probably the youngest performer there.   There were about 15 kids in the camp, about 75% girls, and most were 11 or 12.

He had a great time at the camp, although each day he came home very very tired, and occasionally very cranky. He got to play Lafayette/ Jefferson, as well as playing in the ensemble.  (Well, he shared the roles/lyrics of Lafayette and Jefferson with other kids) They also did a lot of outdoor playing at the local playground, ate lunch, and drew Hamilton posters.

At the end of the week there was a 25 minute performance of what they'd done during the week.  The program was pretty ambitious-- they did 9 songs, covering most of the action of the show, with judicious cuts and some bowdlerized lyrics.

Three kids played King George
I've taught at multiple camps like this. The challenging part for a teacher/performer is that there is NEVER enough time to put everything together, and there are so many kids at so many different levels, and you've promised a show at the end, and you have to deliver.  The good part is that the parents are for the most part really forgiving (as they should be)  And that the kids mostly come through.

"Virginia my home sweet home let me give you a kiss."
I enjoyed watching him in the performance, although he seemed super nervous the night before and just before the show.  The performances of the kids were mostly varied.  They all had a great time, even when they forgot their lines, messed up their lines, rushed their lines, mumbled their lines,  missed their choreography, the music didn't start on time, or they were off key.  It did remind me that what seems so effortless from Broadway actors (singing and rapping) is in fact very difficult.  And that even when you are rapping, it's important to be on key!

It also reminded me of the BRILLIANCE of Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose words shine even when performed inexpertly.  And the absolute brilliance of a kid when he or she gets something right for even a few seconds, and the performance transcends itself.  That happened 3 or 4 times during this performance and it was wonderful!

Here's a sample of some of the show:  

If you are interested, they are having other camps this summer Aug 14-18, as well as a Wicked camp, a Lion King camp, and a Wizard of Oz camp, not to mention a bunch of other camps that are not musical-based.

Find out more

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