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Singing with heart at Homewood’s amateur ‘Hamiltunes’

They sang with heart and for fun at the Homewood Public Library presentation of “Hamiltunes,” a sanctioned all-volunteer performance of the popular Broadway musical.

  Parker Junior High student Sean Haggerty portrayed
  Alexander Hamilton in the opening song of
(Photos by Marilyn Thomas/
  H-F Chronicle)

They sang with heart and for fun at the Homewood Public Library presentation of “Hamiltunes.”

There’s so much to like: It’s got great plot lines, catchy songs and is open to everyone.

  High School senior Brianna
  Valentine came to sing a
  second time in the repeat
  performance of  
  “Hamiltunes” at the
  Homewood Public Library.


“It’s just fun to be in a group with people who are happy to be here. It doesn’t matter what anybody sounds like because you know that you’re singing with all your heart,” said repeat performer Cat Gemkow who came from Forest Park to perform at the library’s December presentation of “Hamiltunes,” a sanctioned reprise of the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

This was the second time the library staff hosted the come-one come-all presentation that allows young and old to stand before a microphone and sing the famous tunes. A number of performers gave it a second try after singing in the library’s February show.
  Jon Cook of Homewood
  portrays King George in
  the “Hamiltunes” production
  at the Homewood Public


“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda packed about 30 years of Alexander Hamilton’s life into a show that features a range of story-telling performed through hip-hop, jazz and rap. 

The musical centers on the young immigrant to the colonies: a nobody who wants to be somebody. He is intent on playing a part in the American Revolution. His most famous line in the musical is “I am not throwing away my shot!” He lacks societal standing but believes his brains will help him get a shot at greatness.
Hamilton trains as a lawyer and becomes secretary to General George Washington, who later gives him a command position in the army. As president, Washington appoints Hamilton to his Cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury. Every step up for Hamilton seems to sidestep the career of Aaron Burr and the jealousy between them eventually leads to their duel in 1804 in which Hamilton was mortally wounded. 
  William Belue, a fifth grader
  at Churchill School in
  Homewood, sings as Aaron
  Burr in “Hamiltunes” at
  the Homewood Public


The library staff used a lottery to select singers for specific roles. Singing Aaron Burr in one number doesn’t mean you have the role for the entire show. For example, William Belue, a fifth grader at Churchill School in Homewood, was in the chorus for the first performance, but he had parts as Aaron Burr this time.

Jon Cook of Homewood learned about “Hamiltunes” when he came to the library for a different program. He got a round of applause for his performance as King George.
“I’m so passionate about this musical,” said Homewood-Flossmoor High senior Brianna Valentine of Flossmoor who performed a second time. 
Eleanor Jenkins of Homewood, a student at James Hart School, took on a variety of roles and was singing Hamilton’s lines in Cabinet Battle 2, a discussion on the strength of the federal government between Hamilton, Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Sean Haggerty of Flossmoor, a student at Parker Junior High, opened the show as Aaron Burr. 

“I’m having fun!” he said.

Andrea Fleming of Steger convinced her daughter, Jessica, to join her onstage this time. Jessica was in the audience for the first performance.
“I saw how fun it was to be around it,” Jessica said. She knows the songs because her mom plays the music in the car.  Andrea said the first time she heard songs from “Hamilton” she was intrigued. “This is like nothing I’ve heard before, and I fell in love with it.”
“I love ‘Hamilton’ and I hope he loves music,” said Allison MacDonald of Homewood, who was part of the audience with her 2-year-old nephew. “It’s great our community hosts events like this for our kids and our families.”
The library plans a third staging of “Hamiltunes” in the summer.
  Neveah Decoys of Gary, left, and Cat Gemkow of
  Forest Park sang various roles in the presentation
  of “Hamiltunes” on March 10.




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