Bryan Terrell Clark, star of Broadway’s hit musical “Hamilton” who portrayed George Washington, will speak at Juniata College’s Alumni Hall in Brumbaugh Academic Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, for the college’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation.
The event is free and open to the public.
Marita Gilbert, dean of institutional equity and inclusive excellence, sees Clark’s work in Hamilton, which tells the story of Alexander Hamilton and other founding fathers while incorporating hip hop and modern storytelling, as thought provoking.
“Hamilton itself is important in reframing events that we think of as static and sterile in a way young people can connect to in today’s context. We are also living in a history that repeats itself, and this comes back in the complicated nature of the fabric of our founding,” she said.
The titled of his talk is “Finding your purpose: from Baltimore to Broadway’s Hamilton.”
Clark, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, graduated from the Yale School of Drama and Temple University and apart from his acting works as a singer, songwriter and producer.
He is also the co-founder of inDEFINED, a philanthropic lifestyle organization with a mission “to inspire, shift, engage and teach young people through exposure to the arts.”
A large part of what made “Hamilton” distinctive was that it had cast people of color to play many of the founding fathers.
Gilbert believes that reflecting on a more nuanced outlook on the past through the prism of America’s present, as did “Hamilton,” will prepare young people to better tackle the future.
“It (America’s founding) was not this simple process. We often think about ourselves in the framework of exceptionalism, but it was gritty work. The relationship was both frayed and required constant sacrifice and intellectual work and helps us think of who was present and who was not. That helps our young folks to grapple with this questions,” she said.
Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.