MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Light bulbs are shining brightly under the historic Orpheum Theatre’s marquis. Lobby doors are freshly polished and cleaned for a big opening night.
“It’s a six-week run, we could have booked it for months and months,” said Mark Nerenhausen, Hennepin Theatre Trust CEO.
From now through Oct. 7, the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” will play to packed houses. Patrons are forking over hundreds of dollars per ticket to be entertained by the hip-hop, blues and jazzy take on our nation’s founding fathers.
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“When the show first opened and people said, ‘Wait a minute, you’re doing a musical on the founding fathers and the first secretary of the treasury?’ But the personal drama that comes from this just speaks on so many levels,” Nerenhausen said.
At the other end of Hennepin Avenue, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is excited about the musical’s opening as well.
You might say the staff there owes it to him. Alexander Hamilton is the founding father credited with creating our monetary and central banking system.
“Alexander Hamilton was a big thinker — in some ways he was hundreds of years ahead of his time,” said Neel Kashkari, Minneapolis Federal Reserve president.
Kashkari says the Tony award-winning musical makes history fun for a wide range of theater goers. And to capitalize on the teachable moment, the regional Federal Reserve Bank is offering free scheduled tours.
They hope to give the public a better understanding of the role the bank plays in our Midwest economy — a way to see Hamilton’s vision of a central monetary system in practice.
“He (Hamilton) said the new country should have a national economy, with a united currency and a central bank standing behind that country,” Kashkari said. “So in many ways, Alexander Hamilton is the original father of the Federal Reserve system.”
It’s a legacy of commerce that’s playing out both on stage and high above the Minneapolis skyline.
For more information on scheduling tours or entering the Federal Reserve’s contests, click here.