'Young, scrappy and hungry' campers get to tell the 'story of tonight'

Kids rise up to the challenge of presenting Broadway's 'Hamilton'

Cherri Gregg
August 28, 2018 - 8:53 pm
Kids rehearse six hours a day for Music Theatre Philly's summer camp series production of "Hamilton."

Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A group of lucky kids aren't throwing away their shot to bring a miniature version of one of the nation's most popular Broadway musicals to the stage this week. 

Nearly two dozen kids are rehearsing six hours a day — plus more practice time at home — to perfect Music Theatre Philly's summer camp series production of "Hamilton."

"We're doing so much, but it's fun, so it's not as tiring," said 13-year-old Leila Rodriguez, who obtained a lead role. "I was really hoping to get Angelica, so I'm excited about it."

Their goal: learn seven songs and seven dance numbers in five days. The campers will then put it all on stage on Friday in a youth production of "Hamilton" at the University of the Arts.

"I love 'Hamilton.' I'm a big fan," echoed 10-year-old Elijah Theel, who sings Thomas Jefferson's verses in the jazzy, upbeat song "What'd I Miss."

Kids rehearse six hours a day for Music Theatre Philly's summer camp series production of "Hamilton."
Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio

Camp Director Julianna Babb said this is their sixth group of campers, and seeing the kids in action has been a transformational process.

"It puts them in an environment where it's OK to be goofy, it's OK to try new things," she said. "It's just so amazing to see them come in and be so excited about material."

She noted they do many different Broadway productions, but "Hamilton" "is just so fun and fresh and so accessible to so many different people."

Elijah said the experience has been a dream come true.

"I want to be an actor when I grow up," he said.

More youth and adult theater workshops begin this fall.