‘Hamilton’ star reprises role to benefit Puerto RicoSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Lin-Manuel Miranda reprised his lead role in the hit musical “Hamilton” to start a two-week run in Puerto Rico expected to raise millions of dollars for artists and cultural groups struggling in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
The audience giggled, hooted, clapped and tapped their feet throughout Friday night’s performance as Miranda took the stage for the first time since his last appearance in the Broadway version in July 2016 when he played the role of U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton.
“I have never felt anything like that,” he said of the crowd’s energy, adding that singing the song “Hurricane” was a challenge. “It was very hard to sing that here in Puerto Rico because you know better than I what it is to survive a hurricane. I feel like I’m going back to Maria a little bit every time I sing it.”
After the two-hour show, Miranda spoke with reporters who peppered him with questions, including how the White House was exploring diverting money for the border wall’s construction from a range of accounts - such as using some of the $13.9 billion allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers after last year’s deadly hurricanes and floods.
“I think that’s absolutely monstrous,” Miranda said as he apologized, saying he had no further comment. “It’s the first time I’m hearing that. I’ve been a little busy.”
It’s the first time in nine years that Miranda has performed in Puerto Rico. Opening night drew more than 1,000 people who bought tickets ranging from $10 to $5,000.
Among the attendees was Ron Chernow, the Pulitzer Prize winner whose biography of Alexander Hamilton inspired the musical.
He told The Associated Press that it was the most extraordinary Miranda performance he has seen.
“There was an extra passion and pain and sadness and beauty that he brought to his character,” Chernow said. “This was no ordinary performance tonight.”
The crowd gave Miranda a standing ovation before the show even started, and during the curtain call he wiped away tears and wrapped himself in a large Puerto Rican flag as he briefly addressed the crowd in Spanish and English.
During the show’s intermission, accountant Zoraida Alvira sat absorbed as she read the three-page synopsis since she struggles a bit with English. It was the first time she had seen a musical and was transfixed.
“Here in Puerto Rico we are not too exposed to theater, let alone musicals,” she said as she praised the performance. “I didn’t move, and I’m a fidgety person.”
Miranda, composer and creator of “Hamilton,” won a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for the musical. AP