More than 1,300 members of the Wesleyan community descended on the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City on Oct. 2 as Wesleyan hosted a sold-out benefit performance of Hamilton, written by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, and directed by Thomas Kail ’99. Miranda and Kail are giving back to the university that helped launch their theater careers. The two previously collaborated on the hit Tony-winning musical In the Heights. (View all photos of the event here.)
For this special Wesleyan evening, the house was bought out by Tony award–winning producer and mother of two Wesleyan alumni Carole Shorenstein Hays. Through additional sponsorships and ticket sales, Wesleyan raised more than $1.5 million for financial aid. Attendees included Wesleyan alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends.
When the crowd erupted in thunderous applause when Miranda sang his first line during the show’s opening number—“Alexander Hamilton, my name is Alexander Hamilton”—even Miranda couldn’t stifle a smile.
After the show, Miranda, Kail, and Wesleyan University President Michael Roth shared their feelings about the purpose and specialness of the night.
“We’ve raised $1.5 million dollars for financial aid tonight, because of you,” said Roth to an elated audience. “And because of the great things that Wesleyan grads do, bringing together creativity, inspiration, delight and joy for an exuberant, learned and incredibly powerful show.”
Most of the proceeds from the show will go toward establishing four Hamilton scholarships,