Americans celebrate Independence Day in many ways, from parades and barbeques to games and fireworks. It’s a day when people come together to honor the bravery and sacrifices of our Founding Fathers and a revolution that was 18 years in the making. Many names are associated with the creation of our country: Washington, Henry, Revere, and Jefferson, to name a few. The stories of these men will forever be a part of the fabric that is the United States of America.
There is one man, however, who had appeared to slip into the folds of time. We remember him in the mere seconds it takes to pull out a $10 bill; then he fades from thought as we go about our day. He was an immigrant who came to the colonies to pursue an education. That man was Alexander Hamilton.
In recent years Hamilton has become a household name, thanks to the hard work and genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda, a playwright and actor who created and starred in “Hamilton: An American Musical.” The musical, which incorporates R&B, pop, and hip-hop, was an unconventional smash hit on Broadway. It earned many awards and gathered fans from around the world. One of those fans was Farragut’s own IS1 Julianna Stevenson. Her love of the revolutionary tale inspired her to take on the challenge of bringing Hamilton’s story to her shipmates.
In three weeks.
How does one take a Broadway show that spans two acts and lasts for hours and adapt it for a comparably short 45-minute performance?
“I first limited the songs to the first act cutting the time in half,” says Stevenson, who directed the show. “Then broke down to the songs that focused on the battles themselves in order to keep the focus on the fight for independence, which then made it to 30 min.”
Following the re-enlistment of AD2 Williams and an Ice Cream Social hosted by the First Class Petty Officers Association, Farragut’s cast of Hamilton took to the make shift stage. The performance started off strong and the first half ended with an energetic rendition of “My Shot,” a popular song from the original musical. The surprise of the night came when Lt. Miller strolled to center stage wearing a make-shift wig and paper crown.
King George arrived and had a message for his “loyal, royal subjects.” Having been cast under a blanket of secrecy, the Chief Engineer was well received by both the performers and audience and did not disappoint. His performance of “You’ll Be Back” had everyone laughing and rushing to capture the moment with pictures and video.
Wrapping up the event was the telling of Hamilton’s decision to join Washington as his aide de camp, followed by the Battle of Long Island, and ending with the rebels’ victory and subsequent surrender of the British in “Yorktown.” Amidst the historical references was a stellar performance by RP2 Melinda Greene as Marquis de Lafayette punctuated by the dance moves of GSM3 Beal and GSMFN Hunter. “This was actually one of the hardest rapping parts in the whole show and she blew it away.” IS1 recounts of Greene, also mentioning that it was one of the male parts given to a female.
When asked how the performance went, Stevenson had this to say, “I was so proud of their performance that it literally brought a tear to my eye. Though I have been a part of many performances throughout my life, I had never ventured to direct before. The dedication and talent this group put in to make this performance possible was astounding. This is a memory that will always be cherished.”
After months of being away from home, “Hamilton” proved to be just what everyone needed to propel them forward and garner a second wind. The singers and dancers were rewarded with a standing ovation and the audience a memory that is sure to last. After all, Farragut and her crew are a testament to Hamilton’s tenacity and the overwhelming success of The American Experiment.
GSE3 Jhomari Anderson as Alexander Hamilton
LS3 Dax Gallimore as Aaron Burr
FC2 Jonathan Green as John Laurens
RP2 Melinda Greene as Marquis de Lafayette
AD2 Robert Williams as General George Washington
LT Raymond Miller as King George
OS3 D’andre Braxton as Hercules Mulligan
GM2 Ciara Dixson as General Lee
CTR2 Imani Bradley
FCA1 Samantha DesJardins
AZ1 Nichole Davis