‘Hamilton’ star wins applause in City Council

March 23, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Anthony Ramos, center, a star of the smash hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” accepts his award in the City Council chamber Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Councilmember Mark Treyger’s office
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Anthony Ramos, an actor appearing in the Broadway mega-hit “Hamilton,” found a whole new audience of fans when he came to the City Council chamber on Tuesday to take a bow and accept a proclamation.

Ramos, a graduate of New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst, was lauded by Councilmember Mark Treyger, a former teacher at the high school who recalled seeing him in one of his first theatrical ventures: a school production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Ramos plays two roles in “Hamilton,” Alexander Hamilton’s son Philip, and abolitionist John Laurens. The innovative musical has been smashing box office records ever since it opened.

Ramos attended New Utrecht High School at the same time Treyger was teaching history there.

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Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) presented the Broadway star with a City Council Proclamation in front of an audience that included council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew and Ramos’ former high school drama teacher, Sara Steinweiss.

“Thank you to Councilmember Treyger and the city for this proclamation, and thank you to the public school system, teachers like Mr. Mulgrew, Ms. Steinweiss, my counselors, my coaches, for pushing me,” Ramos said. “Let’s keep arts and theater programs going. We need to make keeping the arts in schools a priority.”

Ramos’ success is an illustration of the power of perseverance and the importance of encouragement, according to Treyger.

Ramos began his high school career as an athlete, playing baseball and wrestling. But in his junior year, friends convinced him to try out for a talent show. That led to him landing the lead in a student-produced play. His performance caught the eye of Steinweiss, who encouraged him to continue acting.

With the help of Steinweiss, his guidance counselor Jason Jacobs and his baseball and wrestling coaches, Ramos was able to maintain his focus on his studies while nurturing his budding interest in the theater. Steinweiss pushed him to apply to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. The school accepted him after he auditioned, but he could not afford the tuition. Luckily, the Jerry Seinfeld Scholarship Fund stepped in and agreed to cover the cost of his theater education.

“Mr. Ramos exemplifies what the public school system can be for our young people. With the support of his family and caring assistance from his teachers, counselors, coaches and school staff, Mr. Ramos navigated his way through the pitfalls of adolescence and emerged from his public school experience ready to embark on a wonderful journey and make a tremendous cultural impact on our society. His success story reminds us that our public schools need the arts, athletics and the extracurricular programs that government must continue funding,” Treyger said.

Ramos is appearing eight times a week in “Hamilton” at the Richard Rogers Theater. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also stars as Alexander Hamilton, the show uses rap, hip-hop and pop music to tell Hamilton’s story.


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