The Room Where it Happens: Scholars Reflect on Hamilton (Part Two)

This fall, all Freshman and Senior Scholars had the opportunity to see Hamilton: An American Musical at the PrivateBank Theatre as a Core Exposure. Scholars from Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep shared what they learned from the show. 

CRSM Freshman Scholars Reflect on Hamilton

“Hamilton was great! It was a life changing experience. It was interesting to see something we’ve studied for so long come to live. It was interesting meeting the cast after the show and seeing how different they are from their characters.” - Monserrate Adan '20

“My biggest take away that I learn a lot from Hamilton that I really didn’t think I will. Learn as much as I did I also never thought of earning a lot of Hamilton or even know who he was. What really caught my eye is that he did a lot for the United States. I had never learned from him in history or social studies class.” - Natalia Chacon '20

“The biggest intake from Hamilton was his life and how he thought.” - Kassandra Rodriguez '20

“My biggest takeaway from Hamilton the musical was that I understood what each person did in the time period but also their background instead of just government. Since they put things in rap I understood what they did more.” - Jenifer Soto '20

“My biggest takeaway from Hamilton: learning about who Hamilton was and what he did, learning that a legacy is like planting seeds in a garden you’ll never get to see, learning about how actors don’t always like the person that they have to be but they just do it” -Jocelyn Carbajal '20

“My biggest takeaway from Hamilton would be all the time and effort the cast and Lin put into the musical.” - Vannessa Ramirez '20

“One of my biggest takeaways from Hamilton the musical was how immigrants who come to this country can make a difference.” - Jesus Bahena '20

“My biggest takeaway from Hamilton was the reality of the actual story. It’s awesome how all the characters are actually real. Also, how most of the things in the play happened in real life.” - Jose Trejo '20

“Hamilton impacted me by giving me a new perspective on the US constitution. I normally get informed by it in such a boring way. But with Hamilton it made it pop up; it gave it life. Also I learned many things about powerful people, like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.” - Melissa Romero '20

“I think my experience with Hamilton opened my eyes and made me engaged in history. Not only did I learn new events in history but I also showed me that even though I learn things from textbook and videos, there are other ways to get information while also be interested. The musical was display that even though at the beginning people might doubt you, hard work and dedication will be visible and everyone will be impressed. Overall I am so happy and grateful we got to see this amazing work of art. I am still going strong in listening to the soundtrack and have no plans to stop.” - Yesenia Gonzalez '20

Interview with Vannessa Ramirez '20
At Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, SC Yessenia Tostado interviewed Vannessa Ramirez '20 about her experience watching Hamilton: An American Musical. 

Interviewer: How did you become interested in Hamilton?

Vannessa Well, my sister was really into the musical before I even started. She asked me if I had heard of Hamilton, and I did hear about it a lot on the internet, but she noticed and said “you haven’t heard it yet? We are going to listen to it together.” So, we spent the entire afternoon together binge hearing the entire soundtrack. She also made me look up the lyrics so I could understand what the songs were talking about and I found the songs to be really good, so I downloaded the playlist on Spotify and I just listened to it non-stop.  

Interviewer: When you first heard that Schuler would be taking the Freshman Scholars to watch Hamilton for one of their Core Exposures, what went through your mind?

Vannessa: Amy (Educational Counselor) said “We are going on a core exposure to see a musical” and I in my mind I was like “Is it going to be Hamilton?” and then she said “Hamilton” and my heart just dropped and then right after STEP I went to talk to her about it and asked about all the details and she said we’d be going until October or November and I was like “That’s so far” but it came by so quickly, so I’m glad.

Interviewer: What was it like to be there live, watching Hamilton on stage?

Vannessa: The seats were really good, I was shocked; I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to see anything, but I would still be able to hear them, but the seats were really good and I was so excited. The musical was about one minute off when it was supposed to start because it was supposed to start at two but it started a few seconds later, so I was kind of upset, but I was so excited and it just didn’t feel real, but when I was seeing it I was like “I’m watching it!”

Interviewer: What was your favorite part of the musical?

Vannessa: I’m going to say the part that I didn’t listen to, which was when Lawrence died because that was not in the playlist. Listening to it you weren’t able to hear, so that was good, it was good to see something I wasn’t aware of, and as it happened I was like, “Is this happening? I wasn’t aware about this.”

Interviewer: Is there anything else that you found surprising from hearing the musical on the soundtrack and seeing the musical on stage?

Vannessa: Yea, like with music you just have to imagine what is happening and you can’t really see their attitudes to what they are saying but on stage you can see if they are mad or upset. You just have a better idea of their attitude towards one another due to their body action and language.

Interviewer: Yes, it is so different from just listening to the soundtrack, listening to the lyrics and the beat of the song, and then seeing it live and seeing how all of the actors are moving around the stage …

Vannessa: Yes, and how into their acting they are.

Interviewer: Who was your favorite character from the musical?

Vannessa: I would say Lafayette because I love his rapping and his character in the musical is good because his parts are really good and the funniest character I’m going to say is King George, during the musical he was just super funny. He was like the part where everybody laughed the most.

Interviewer: Yes, King George was super funny... What did you learn from watching Hamilton? Is there something that struck you or that really resonated with you?

Vannessa:  What struck me was seeing the attitude that Burr had towards Hamilton. Throughout the playlist you could hear his attitude, but when you see it you could see how much he kind of doesn’t like how Hamilton acts and how much fame he is getting more than him, so you can see more of his attitude based on his body tension and how he looks at him.

Interviewer: How did the REP sessions on Hamilton help with the experience of watching Hamilton live?

Vannessa:  It helped because I got a better understanding. When I was reading the lyrics and had to annotate I got to understand the lyrics better and get a deeper meaning and get to go more in depth with what the characters were really talking about. Also, it was great to see all the other Scholars listen to the musical, because when we went to see it they actually knew the songs, so I was like “Yay, I am not the only one” so that was good and they were all excited to see it and that made me happy.

Interviewer: Did you like watching the documentary Hamilton’s America?

Vannessa: Yes, I did like the documentary because it was nice to learn something I hadn’t imagined. I didn’t think that it took so long to make the musical but seeing all the effort put in and all the time put into the musical makes me love it even more.

Interviewer: Why do you think Schuler exposes the Scholars to a musical as a core exposure, in general and specifically to this musical?

Vannessa: Well most people my age aren’t really into musicals so it's a chance to explore entertainment outside of television and movies. Also, this musical talks a lot about history so it is very informative too.


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