By Michael Tessler

The “Culper Spy Adventure,” a special presentation by TBR News Media, is an immersive digital attraction that will allow locals and tourists alike to be recruited into the ranks of General Washington’s secret Setauket spy ring. Accessed by scanning a special QR code on a panel of the Three Village map or visiting www.TBRNewsMedia.com/Culper, you will begin an interactive 45-minute journey that puts you into the starring role of your very own secret spy adventure!

Become a time traveler as you arrive in the year 1780, crossing paths with legends and heroes: Abraham Woodhull, Anna Smith Strong, Caleb Brewster, George Washington himself! Enjoy interactive games between each episode that are filled to the brim with intrigue, action and fun!

Created with the whole family in mind, the “Culper Spy Adventure” is great for all ages.

 Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) in the Uniform of the New York Artillery (oil on canvas) by Chappel, Alonzo (1828-87). Photo from Michael Tessler
Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) in the Uniform of the New York Artillery (oil on canvas) by Chappel, Alonzo (1828-87). Photo from Michael Tessler

Long before we started production on the “Culper Spy Adventure,” and long before I listened to the sound track of the musical, Alexander Hamilton was my favorite founding father. He embodied America: brave, innovative, steadfast, flawed yet relentlessly moving toward progress. He was an immigrant who moved to a country that did not yet exist and still adopted it as his own and fought for it both before and after the war. He was perhaps the most famous New Yorker of the 18th century and his brilliant system of banking and government are still alive and thriving today. Our wealth, our luxury, our mantle of “global superpower” can very well be attributed to his foresight and vision.

“Hamilton: The Musical” has ingeniously provided a whole new generation with an incredible medium to learn and love history. Using show-stopping numbers, dancing, and elements of hip-hop, the show’s creator Lin Manuel-Miranda has successfully made history accessible to everyone (or those who can get tickets that is, I’m still waiting for mine!)

Some two centuries after his death, Alexander Hamilton is again providing America with a great gift, a refreshing glimpse into our nation’s founding and the ideals that make America great.

When we started writing the “Culper Spy Adventure” it was very clear that we wanted to include Hamilton in the story. He was just a young man when the Declaration of Independence was signed, not yet a founding father, but one of America’s sons fighting on the frontline for liberty. Though he came from nothing, he used his brilliant tactical mind to achieve the title of war hero. His superiors took note and he was offered various promotions by officers in the Continental Army. He refused them all, that was until General George Washington offered him a position as his “right hand man” as an aide-de-camp and that’s when our stories intertwine.

Hamilton was one of the very few individuals who knew of the Culper Spy Ring and its operations throughout the war. Being one of Washington’s most trusted advisers, Hamilton was tasked with reading many of the intelligence reports created by Townsend, Woodhull, Strong, Brewster and Tallmadge. Though he didn’t know their real names, he knew of their tremendous sacrifice and bravery in delivering those secret messages.

One of Hamilton’s best friends was Hercules Mulligan, another star from the musical. This tailor’s apprentice stayed behind in New York after the British occupation and would gather intelligence for the Continental Army. He and his slave Cato reportedly saved Washington’s life twice and would occasionally work directly with the Culper Spy Ring.

All of this coalesces in 1780 when Hercules Mulligan informs Culper spy Robert Townsend (a.k.a. Culper Jr.) of the British plans to attack the French in Rhode Island. This piece of intelligence drastically altered the course of the war and very well saved the revolution. We serialize this mission in the “Culper Spy Adventure” as you race against time to deliver that message to George Washington at his headquarters, along the way meeting and interacting with Setauket’s spies and some great historical figures.

Though I don’t want to spoil anything, you do get to meet Lt. Colonel Alexander Hamilton in one of the film’s best sequences. So don’t “throw away your shot.” Begin your “Culper Spy Adventure” today!

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