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Chicago’s Northerly Island to host traveling ‘Hamilton’ exhibition’s world debut

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The 27,000-square-foot temporarily structure will open November 17 and offer free admission to CPS students

David Korins

Downtown’s CIBC Theatre won’t be your only shot when it comes to getting your Hamiliton fix in Chicago after a new historical exhibit from the broadway musical’s creators opens at Northerly Island this fall.

Dubbed “Hamilton: The Exhibition,” the interactive attraction will make its world debut on November 17 inside a 27,000-square-foot temporary building south of the Adler Planetarium. It is expected to stay in Chicago until a yet-to-be-determined date before embarking on a tour to select cities nationwide.

A collaboration between Hamilton composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, producer Jeffrey Seller, set designer David Korins, and musical director Thomas Kail, the immersive experience will re-create pivotal events featured in the show as a well as lesser known periods in Alexander Hamilton’s life.

“I hope to use this exhibition to answer some questions that the musical doesn’t address,” said Seller in a statement in Broadway World. “Like ‘What did Alexander actually do when he was a trader in St. Croix? What did Hamilton’s Manhattan look like? How did we win the battle of Yorktown?’”

David Korins

The football field-sized structure will be joined by an oversized sculpture of a writing quill and a precise topographical recreation of the Weehawken, New Jersey dueling grounds where the exhibit’s namesake subject ultimately lost his life.

As for the decision to launch on Chicago’s lakefront versus somewhere like New York, Seller told the Chicago Tribune that the team’s choice was influenced by the legacy of the city’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition as well as the overwhelming positive local response to the show.

Organizers are still working out some of the logistical challenges involved in ensuring smooth and comfortable operation during Chicago’s coldest months. Parking is expected to take place near Soldier Field with buses shuttling visitors to and from Northerly Island.

While ticket pricing has yet to be announced, the temporary installation hopes to serve an educational role by admitting Chicago Public School students for free. For updates ahead of its November launch, be sure to visit “Hamilton: The Exhibition’s” official website.

David Korins