By Katie Reilly
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some 20,000 New York City public high school students will be offered cut-rate $10 tickets to attend performances of the hip-hop musical sensation "Hamilton," the hottest show on Broadway, in a bid to hook them on history.
The Rockefeller Foundation, a New York philanthropic organization, will subsidize the tickets with a $1.46 million grant to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, a nonprofit group that is developing educational programming to use the musical in the classroom.
"Hamilton" uses rap and R&B influences and color-blind casting to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States who served as treasury secretary under President George Washington and led the creation of the U.S. financial system.
Tickets to the show, which is sold out through the end of this year, range from $57 to $160 each and are fetching up to $2,000 on the secondary market. Under the program, the students will pay $10 to see Wednesday matinee shows beginning in April 2016.
"Works like this don't come around very often, and when they do we must make every effort to maximize their reach," Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation president, said in a statement.
Hamilton was killed in an 1804 duel with then Vice-President Aaron Burr. In 1818, his widow, Eliza, established the Hamilton Free School, the first school in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.
The educational mission of the ticket program was not lost on Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show's star and creator.
"We get to teach thousands of children. We get to see them growing up," Miranda said in a Twitter posting on Tuesday, playing off lyrics sung by Eliza Hamilton in the musical.
The first group of participating schools will include those with large numbers of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches, a program available to low-income families.
(Reporting by Katie Reilly; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Will Dunham)