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First-year students to be in ‘The Room Where It Happens’

Entire entering class to be offered tickets to see Chicago production of ‘Hamilton’ in October as part of One Book One Northwestern

"Hamilton" performers on stage

EVANSTON - Students entering Northwestern University as first-year students next fall not only are getting a ticket to a great education, they’ll also receive a free ticket to the hottest show in town.

As part of the University’s One Book One Northwestern program, all first-years will be given the opportunity to receive a free ticket to the Chicago production of “Hamilton,” the smash hit musical. Next year’s One Book is “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality” by Danielle Allen, which re-examines the Declaration of Independence and argues that liberty and equality are interdependent. All first-years receive a copy of the One Book each year.

“Hamilton,” written and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and which swept the Tony Awards a year ago, details the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers, through hip-hop music, dance and dynamic storytelling. One of the most popular numbers in the show is “The Room Where It Happens,” where the Aaron Burr character laments that neither he nor anyone else was in the room where Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison reach a political compromise that results in the establishment of a national bank and the location of the new nation’s capital.

“We felt that the chance for our students to see ‘Hamilton,’ which also considers the issues raised in ‘Our Declaration,’ presented a unique opportunity,” said Geraldo Cadava, associate professor of history in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and faculty chair of the 2017-18 One Book Steering Committee. “Both the book and the play have injected new perspectives into the study of the American Revolution, and both unquestionably will challenge and engage our students.”

Half of the entering class of approximately 1,900 students will attend a matinee performance of the musical on Oct. 4, and the other half will attend a matinee on Oct. 11. Plans are being worked out for the transportation of the students to the performances.

Allen, the author of “Our Declaration,” will deliver a keynote address and sign books for the One Book program on Oct. 19, the week after the second performance.

“Every year the One Book program provides the Northwestern community, especially students who are new to campus that fall, an opportunity to join in a shared experience,” said Nancy Cunniff, director of the One Book program. “I’m confident that next fall’s experience will be one those students will remember.”

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