“Alexander Hamilton. My name is Alexander Hamilton.”
When Hamilton writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda ‘02 sang his first line to an audience packed to the rafters with Wesleyan alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends, the crowd erupted in thunderous applause.
Even Miranda couldn’t stifle a smile.
More than 1,300 members of the Wesleyan community descended on the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City on October 2 as Wesleyan hosted a sold-out benefit performance of Hamilton, written by and starring Miranda (who just last week received a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as a MacArthur “genius grant”), 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 $1.6 million for financial aid.
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 $1.6 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,