The Room Where It Happens: Working at the Kimmel Center’s Hamilton Gala

Back in 2015, during my senior year of high school, Hamilton the musical was all my friends, family and I could talk about. The blockbuster show took the world by storm and completely changed the art of musical theater forever. It quickly became more than just a Broadway show and eventually morphed into a multi-faceted, educational experience, with the #EduHam educational program hitting schools across the country and history teachers using the music in their lesson plans. 


Hamilton is currently playing in Philadelphia at the historic Forrest Theatre. As the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Public Relations Intern, I was thrilled and lucky to work the Kimmel Center’s Hamilton Gala, an evening celebrating Hamilton’s arrival to Philadelphia, raising funds for the Kimmel’s free educational programs in the Philadelphia school district and presenting the inaugural Center Stage Award to Dr. William R. Hite Jr., Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, for his incredible work to improve the education of every child in Philadelphia.


The Hamilton Gala was a stunning event full of glitz and glamour. The Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza was decorated with floral versions of Philadelphia landmarks, including the LOVE sign and the Liberty Bell. Kimmel Center employees and the gala guests were dressed in creative black tie and the whole venue was full of excited energy. When the night began, I greeted guests and answered any questions necessary. I also greeted the press and helped guide them throughout the event. I assisted the photographers in taking photos, corralling guests to get their pictures taken and making note of their information. It was fascinating to just people-watch and participate in the madness of the behind-the-scenes of a formal gala. 

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The cocktail hour concluded as guests made their way to dinner, which included a jazz performance and colonial-inspired fare. When Superintendent Hite accepted his award, I listened closely to his speech for any stand-out quotes to use in social media posts and stories following the event. As the evening came to a close, the attendees made their way on to the Hamilton-themed buses to drive over to the Forrest Theatre and enjoy a performance of Hamilton. After the guests left, I started crafting social media posts for all of the Kimmel Center’s channels to share photos and content from the evening. 
Overall, it was such an amazing opportunity and I am so grateful I was able to attend and experience the event. As an avid fan of Hamilton since 2015, I was pinching myself all evening over the fact that I was in attendance of a gala in honor of the wonderful musical.

-Caitlin Gemmi

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