At her eighth birthday party, Juliet Forrest wore a colonial dress. Her friend Jenna arrived dressed as King George. The pavilion was decorated with bunting flags, and there were water cannon duels along with a game of Pin-the-Cannonball-on-King-George.
For Juliet, who is obsessed with the broadway musical Hamilton, the party’s theme was obvious. Juliet’s parents, both middle school educators, are musical lovers who started playing the soundtrack nonstop in their home last winter. During Lin-Manuel Miranda’s final week of performances, the family traveled to New York on a whim and nabbed tickets outside the theater just minutes after the curtain lifted. The Pittsburgh second-grader has been hooked ever since.
To create an invitation for her September birthday party, Juliet’s dad, Tom, photoshopped her silhouetted figure onto the Hamilton logo. The soundtrack set the mood as kids feasted on a Hamilton-themed cake and drew in Hamilton-themed coloring books. In lieu of gifts, Juliet asked guests to bring a Hamilton—a ten-dollar bill, that is—to donate to Graham-Windham, the children’s welfare organization Eliza Hamilton co-founded in 1806.
When the sugar high wears off, she’ll return to the junior biography of Alexander Hamilton she checked out from her school library, and the family will continue the conversations they’ve begun about immigration and what it’s like to arrive on America’s shores with nothing but a dream. The eight-year-old’s birthday party is just one example of the permeating influence the record hit, which won 16 Tony Awards, has had on American culture.