A Slice of Hamilton!

Two years after its debut in 2015, the Broadway musical Hamilton is still burning up the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City. Created by writer and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, this theatrical experience combines jazz, rap, and hip-hop to tell the story of the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, an unlikely Founding Father of the United States of America.

shutterstock_518622769.jpgBecause of the music and compelling story line, Hamilton has appealed to audiences of all ages. “Hamfans” are everywhere! The musical has encouraged tourists to visit Hamilton-related sites in New York City, revived interest in American civics, and fortified Alexander Hamilton’s spot on the $10 bill.  

Inspired by the impact of Hamilton on American culture, we have created a summer experience for creative and technical-minded middle schoolers at the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Supported by an Academic Enrichment for Gifted/Talented In Summer grant awarded through the Arkansas Department of Education, students who have completed the seventh and eighth grades will be hamming it up during the week-long summer program MT [musical theater] Stage: The Hamilton Experience.

The need to provide arts curriculum for gifted and talented students is essential. In fact, in our work at the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, we’ve both found that students often have limited opportunities to discover and develop talents in the arts. Programs like MT Stage: The Hamilton Experience allow students to participate in generative, creative sessions and problem-solving activities that further their engagement with the arts. Hamilton is an especially rich source of material, lending itself to lessons on social issues like immigration, social freedom, and civic responsibility as well as providing opportunities to dive deeply into the musical theater experience.

You, too, can create a Hamilton experience for your gifted child and family members. We’ve compiled a list of resources below:

  • Read the biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow that inspired Miranda to write Hamilton.
  • Try lessons about Alexander Hamilton created by PBS provided. The site features 11 videos and education materials with suggested grade levels. Lessons include comprehensive and critical thinking discussion questions, and teaching tips.
  • Read Hamilton: The Revolution by Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.
  • Watch the awesome PBS documentary Hamilton’s America featuring Miranda.
  • Visit Miranda’s website to learn more about Hamilton, view cast pictures, and see Miranda’s White House visit with former President Barack Obama.

Christine Deitz, Ed.D., is associate director of the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Prior to this position, she was the specialist for gifted secondary programs for the Little Rock School District and a consultant for College Board in social sciences. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, author, speaker, consultant, and gifted child advocate.

Ann Robinson, Ph.D., is the founding director of the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, where she coordinates the graduate programs in gifted education, including the online master’s in Gifted, Talented, and Creative Education. Ann is a past president of NAGC,,a former editor of  Gifted Child Quarterly, and has been honored by NAGC as an Early Scholar, an Early Leader, a Distinguished Scholar, and for Distinguished Service to the association.