(CBS) – Nearly 2,000 Chicago area high-schoolers attended the blockbuster “Hamilton” on Wednesday. As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, they had a role to play on stage, too, in bringing America’s past to life.

The stage phenomenon, continuing its run in at the CIBC Theatre, combines hip hop and history and makes the Revolutionary War period relatable.

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The opening act came was a command performance by students. They studied the Hamilton era and performed raps that in some cases drew parallels between historic events and modern problems.

Michael Fraction, for example, spoke of the Boston Massacre and present day frustrations over police shootings. Ashley Chiu’s ode to revolutionary women also punctuated social media’s  #metoo campaign against sexual harassment.

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“It was exhilarating and empowering,” the East Leyden High School student says.

This is the second year in a row for the project and the first of 10 performances set aside for high school students through the year. Their cost is $10 each – or, one Hamilton.

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