In 2015, “Hamilton: An American Musical” opened on Broadway and splashed into the pop culture with a dazzling fervor unparalleled in recent decades. The show, like its namesake, grew its reputation as a force to be reckoned with in American social, cultural, and even political arenas. But with the show’s arrival on streaming media, in the form of its recent release on Disney+, it suddenly found an even greater population of appreciative fans.
What does it mean for a piece of entertainment drawing on influences from Gangsta Rap to Gilbert and Sullivan, and a work of biographical historiography to have united such a diverse array of the fractured American public? How did disparate influences, paired with other real world conditions, converge to allow the show to have such a tremendous impact on American society, culture, and even public policy? And how has that changed from 2015 to 2020, and in the move from the Broadway stage to one of the biggest streaming platforms there is?
To discuss these fascinating questions, Chestertown RiverArts and the Garfield Center for the Arts are pleased and excited to announce a very special partnership in conjunction with GCTV. “talkHAMILTON: a Discussion on historical, racial and theatrical context to the hit Broadway musical” is the next Live GCTV presentation for Wednesday, July 22 at 7:30 PM. It can be found online on the Garfield’s Facebook page at facebook.com/garfieldcenterforthearts.
The panel assembled for the presentation are Chestertown RiverArts Executive Director Maria Wood, the GCA’s Executive Director Steven Arnold, Kent County Public Library’s Youth Services Librarian Natalie Lane and Chestertown RiverArts ArtsAlive! Director Ann Farley. The program will also feature performance content related to “Hamilton.”
The Facebook Live format allows viewers to participate via the comment box, so live viewers will be able to share their thoughts and ask questions. In addition, the two organizations are asking for questions and comments in advance so they can be worked into the conversation. Please email those questions to email@example.com.
Maria Wood is the Executive Director of Chestertown RiverArts. She grew up in Queen Anne’s County and returned to the Eastern Shore in 2018 after receiving a BA from Smith College in American Studies and Ethnomusicology as a (ahem) mature student. She began her academic work on “Hamilton: An American Musical” in 2015, pursued research on the unfolding “Hamilton” phenomenon as Student Fellow with the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute in 2016 and 2017, and completed an Honors Thesis titled “No John Trumbull: Social, Cultural, and Political Resonances of ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ ” She has taught classes on “Hamilton” for WC-ALL since 2018. Leading last February’s “Hamiltunes” at the Mainstay was one of her final pre-pandemic group experiences, so things could be worse. She continues to think about, write about, and analyze the continually expanding “Hamilton” universe, much to the boredom of her friends and family.
Steven Arnold recently returned to the Eastern Shore in January when he joined The Garfield Center for the Arts as its Executive Director. His second time living and working as an Arts professional in the area, he left in 2011 to pursue other theatre jobs in Kentucky and Ohio. He received his BA in Theatre from The Ohio State University and is an experienced professional Actor, Director, Administrator and produced Playwright. His adaptation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” for which he wrote the Book, Lyrics, Music and Orchestrations, premiered at The Mansfield Playhouse in 1999, and area audiences may remember his 10-minute plays, including last year’s “Power Nap,” from the GCA’s Short Attention Span Theatre over the years.
Natalie Lane has been the Youth Services Librarian for the Kent County Public Library System for eight years and has a great love for children’s literature. She is an avid supporter of the Arts and local theatre and has appeared in various stage productions in the community, most recently in GCA’s production of “Annie.” She first saw “Hamilton” on stage two years ago and has been a fan ever since, engaging with various productions, talks, and peripheral content about the show and its historical context. In her spare time, she enjoys nature, hiking, and cooking creative meals at home.
Ann Farley is the Director of Chestertown RiverArts ArtsAlive! She is a business consultant, educator and environmental advocate, as well as a non-profit leader and an artist. Recently, Ann was a past Executive Director of the Tilghman Area Youth Association, and was on the board of the Talbot County Arts Council. She holds a BS in biology from Duke University, and an MBA from Florida State University. She believes in the transformative power of arts experiences, and is a strong advocate for diversity and sustainability.
Chestertown RiverArts is a vibrant community arts center whose mission is “Growing community, creativity, and connection through the arts.” The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre’s mission is “To invigorate the cultural life of our community by nurturing, celebrating and supporting arts and artists through performance and education.”
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