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Presidential Address: 'Hamilton' Star Christopher Jackson to Visit Dickinson

Christopher Jackson

Award-winning performer/composer to speak on access and the arts

By MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Hamilton star Christopher Jackson will visit Dickinson Nov. 2 and share insights from his stellar career in the arts. The Tony Award-nominated actor and Grammy Award-winning singer and composer will interact with students and faculty and deliver a talk about access, accessibility and the arts through the college's annual Poitras-Gleim series.

Jackson’s talk, moderated by Director of Access & Disability Services Marni Jones, will be held in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A. The event is free and open to all Dickinson students, faculty and staff, as well as to Dickinson alumni. Those who wish to attend must reserve tickets in advance.

Prior to his talk in the ATS, Jackson will speak with students in a class taught by Keola Simpson, assistant professor of theatre & dance. After the discussion, there will be a reception, connecting Jackson with students and faculty.

Onstage and onscreen

Jackson earned a 2016 Tony Award nomination for his work originating the Broadway role of George Washington in the groundbreaking musical Hamilton. He went on to reprise that role as the first  U.S. president in the 2020 Disney+ movie adaptation of the musical. Jackson's many performance credits also include the stage and screen productions of In the Heights; the titular role in Broadway’s Lion King; the Disney movie Moana, in which he played Chief Tui; starring roles in the CBS TV show Bull and in Netflix's When They See Us; and a recurring role in season two of HBO's And Just Like That. In 2020 he closed a run of Freestyle Love Supreme on Broadway alongside Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda, adapted into the documentary We Are Freestyle Love Supreme. Jackson released a solo album in 2020.

Jackson's 2018 performance of  “One Last Time (44 Remix)” was released as a part of the Hamildrop series, which featured him alongside President Barack Obama and BeBe Winans. Jackson additionally has served as writer and co-music director for TV's The Electric Company and as composer and songwriter for Sesame Street, earning a 2010 Emmy Award for his Sesame Street collaboration with recording artist Will.I.Am. Following his son C.J.’s autism diagnosis in 2007, Jackson became an advocate for the autism-awareness organization Autism Speaks.

Powered by students

Jackson comes to Dickinson through the college’s Poitras-Gleim lecture series, endowed by Kay Gleim Poitras ’53 and Edward Poitras. The series brings nationally and internationally prominent figures to campus to interact with students and to speak about a subject outside of their widely known area of expertise. Notably, the series is organized by members of Student Senate. The student leaders who help select the speaker and plan for the events sharpen a variety of professional skills through the experience.

Student Senate’s director of academics, Justice Roney ’24 (political science, security studies), who takes voice lessons through Dickinson, has been busy organizing the reception for the Broadway and movie singer and actor and getting the word out to fellow students about Jackson’s lecture. She will introduce Jackson at the start of his discussion.

“This has been an incredible learning experience,” says Roney. “I feel very lucky to have these experiences, and I recognize how important the arts and accessibility are to many Dickinsonians. The chance to see Christopher Jackson on campus and hear him discuss his experiences may offer guidance and inspiration to so many students and staff.”

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Published October 24, 2023