Note: This article originally appeared in the June 12, 2016 edition of the Virginian-Pilot. Follow the link at bottom to the interactive tour.
Virginia is not throwing away its shot.
Not when “Hamilton,” Broadway’s hottest show, raps about the Founding Fathers. You can’t have a story about those dudes without Virginia.
The musical follows the rise and fall of Alexander Hamilton as an immigrant from the Caribbean to America’s first Treasury secretary. But Hamilton didn’t create America or fill a musical by himself. Much of the show sings about George Washington, Yorktown and Thomas Jefferson's being “mellow at Monticello.”
Virginia’s historical sites are capitalizing on the show's success.
Stephen Seals, interpretive program development manager with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, said teenagers are usually the most allergic when it comes to studying history. Yet he’s seen teens walking around the Colonial grounds wearing their “Hamilton” musical T-shirts.
“We hear about people who are interested in ‘Hamilton’ and our connection to Hamilton all the time,” Seals said.
While Colonial Williamsburg already has full-time actors playing Jefferson, Washington and French commander the Marquis de Lafayette, it is considering adding a Hamilton to its October program that depicts Washington’s 1781 push to Yorktown.
“The show really has sparked a need to know in young people,” Seals said.
So The Virginian-Pilot has designed a Virginia Hamilton tour. Hit the road, pop in the show’s Grammy-winning soundtrack (warning, there are explicit lyrics) and learn the true history behind the stage characters. Go here and scroll down to take the tour.