Hamil­ton’s star reprises role in Puerto Rico

Viet Nam News - - LIFE&STYLE -

SAN JUAN — Lin- Manuel Mi­randa reprised his lead role in the hit mu­si­cal Hamil­ton to start a twoweek 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’s 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 US 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 bor­der wall con­struc­tion from a range of ac­counts, in­clud­ing us­ing some of the US$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 apol­o­gised that he didn’t have 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 US$10 to $5,000.

Among the at­ten­dees was Ron Ch­er­now, the Pulitzer Prize win­ner whose bi­og­ra­phy of Alexan­der Hamil­ton in­spired the mu­si­cal.

He said 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.”

Alvira, like sev­eral other Puerto Ri­cans who at­tended open­ing night, snapped up her ticket thanks to a lot­tery launched by “Hamil­ton” or­gan­is­ers who are sell­ing 275 tick­ets for ev­ery per­for­mance at $10 each. Oth­ers in the au­di­ence on Fri­day in­cluded mu­si­cian Quest­love and TV pro­ducer Shonda Rhimes.

Among those ex­pected to at­tend the show in up­com­ing days are sev­eral fed­eral law­mak­ers vis­it­ing the US ter­ri­tory for the week­end to learn more about re­con­struc­tion ef­forts fol­low­ing Hur­ri­cane Maria, which caused more than $100 bil­lion in dam­age when it hit on Septem­ber 20, 2017.

Even peo­ple who didn’t have tick­ets showed up at the venue.

“This is a very im­por­tant mo­ment for Puerto Rico right now,” said Vi­vian Ro­driguez, a stu­dent who lives in Puerto Rico but is from New York. She noted that Fri­day is Hamil­ton’s birth­day, and she said Puerto Rico has suf­fered from what she de­scribed as its “colo­nial” sta­tus.

Hamil­ton was ini­tially go­ing to be staged at the Univer­sity of Puerto Rico from Jan­uary 8 to 27, but pro­duc­ers an­nounced in De­cem­ber that it was mov­ing to the Cen­tro de Bel­las Artes Luis A. Ferre fol­low­ing the threat of protests by univer­sity em­ploy­ees upset over en­roll­ment changes at the is­land’s largest pub­lic univer­sity.

The change forced some peo­ple on the US main­land to forego their Hamil­ton tick­ets be­cause they were un­able or could not af­ford to change their air­line tick­ets to ac­com­mo­date the show’s new dates. Oth­ers were upset when they did not hear back from the agency re­spon­si­ble for re­as­sign­ing new dates for pre­vi­ously pur­chased tick­ets. — AP

Maria. or­lan­dosen­tinel.com

Good deed: A two-week run of the hit mu­si­cal Hamil­ton in Puerto Rico is ex­pected to raise mil­lions of dol­lars for artists and cul­tural groups strug­gling in the wake of Hur­ri­cane— Photo

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