E. Desmond Lee Community Artist in Residence Brian Owens (far right) guided the campus community event with students from three local high schools in attendance to meet the Hamilton cast members (seated from left) Jennifer Locke, Raymond Baynard, Jennifer Geller, Austin Scott, Amanda Braun and Chris De’Sean Lee. (Photos by Marisol Ramirez)
The fandom was real at the University of Missouri–St. Louis last week when more than 100 local high school and university students burst with cheers and tears of excitement during an exclusive Q&A with six cast members from Hamilton.
The musical production in town this month at The Fox Theatre has struck a beat in St. Louis with its hip-hop take on history and its diverse casting of roles traditionally played by white men.
Students from McCluer, Hazelwood and Ritenour high schools whooped and cheered as the Hamilton cast greeted them Thursday at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on UMSL’s campus.
With such inspirational talent in town, two of UMSL’s Des Lee Collaborative Vision and Community Engagement scholars Brian Owens, the E. Desmond Lee Community Artist in Residence, and Michael Smith, the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Music Education, jumped at the chance to organize a Lunch and Learn at UMSL’s Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center with some of the cast, including:
Austin Scott who plays Alexander Hamilton,Chris De’Sean Lee who plays Marquis de Lafayette,Raymond Baynard who is part of the ensemble,Amanda Braun who is a swing,Jennifer Geller who is part of the ensemble,and Jennifer Locke who is part of the ensemble.
Students for McCluer, Hazelwood and Ritenour high schools attended the Thursday afternoon event alongside UMSL students studying music, theater and history.
Owens kicked off the discussion, asking about the innovative nature of a hip-hop musical.
“You think it would be corny …