SAN JUAN, PR – Lin-Manuel Miranda just had to pronounce the name of his character – Alexander Hamilton – to get the crowd going.
It was Friday night in San Juan – the first performance and also the opening A 17-day run by "Hamilton" in Puerto Rico – and when the audience saw the 38-year-old creator and star of the show, they showered him with applause and forced a brief pause, the actors froze in the scene in which the patrons unleashed a storm of appreciation, of course, of fandom, but also of something deeper.
"Today, Puerto Rico gave me more energy than ever before," said Mr. Miranda. Speaking in Spanish, told reporters after the show. "I have never felt such a thing."
"People will come to Puerto Rico for" Hamilton "and hopefully spend a lot of money here," he said. "But they will also see blue tarpaulins and see how much work is left to do."
The San Juan Run will be staged at Artes de Bellas Artes's Luis A. Ferré, the local performing arts venue, after last-minute producers decided to relocate them from the Río Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico Responding to concerns about security in the event of protests.
Some disturbances were not directly related to each other "Hamilton" – the university is in the middle of contentious work talks – but there were some. Mr Miranda's support for a debt restructuring plan that has led to a tax inspectorate for Puerto Rico has brought him some criticism. He now supports the debt relief for the island and on Friday he denounced austerity measures, which increased the cost of university students.
A handful of drama students from the University of Puerto Rico interned the production. Paola A. Martínez Orengo, a student who helped out in the showroom section of the show and attended the opening ceremony, said, "Of course I'm sad it does not happen at our university, but I'm glad I could be part of it.
There was a small rally ahead of the Friday night's opening show: About a dozen Puerto Rico proponents of statehood gathered behind a banner, holding signs and slogans. The demonstrators said they had no problems with "Hamilton," but took the opportunity to raise their concerns.
The production is a fundraiser, estimated to raise approximately $ 15 million for the Flamboyan Arts Fund . Miranda's family is seeking to support Puerto Rican artists. The money is raised in part by selling several thousand tickets for $ 5,000 each. About a quarter of all tickets are sold for $ 10 each.
The opening Friday night featured a few bold names from the mainland, including television producer Shonda Rhimes, musician Questlove, and television presenter Jimmy Fallon; a number of Puerto Rican personalities, including singer Lucecita Benítez, comedian Raymond Arrieta and the former Miss Universe Denise Quiñones; and Spanish chef José Andrés, who was active here after hurricane 2017.
There were also "Hamilton" alumni, including Leslie Odom Jr., who won a Tony as Original Aaron Burr, and many other people who were involved in the creation of the show, including Ron Chernow, the historian whose biography she inspired.
There were also many people who only wanted to see "Hamilton".
"The fact that Lin-Manuel is Puerto Rican makes us all so proud here," said Melissa González, a lawyer who got tickets only two days ago, and joined her husband Carlos Surillo, another attorney who attended "The likes of Roberto Clemente, Raul Juliá, and now Lin-Manuel have brought Puerto Rico forward," he said.
Some patrons came from more distant lands, those from Scotland Paul McQue said he had seen "Hamilton" once on Broadway, three times in Chicago, and nine times in London, but had not yet seen Mr. Miranda play the lead, and came to San Juan.
After the show gave There was a party in the popular center, a bank tower in the financial district of San Juan.There were typical Puerto Rican food – Gandules (pigeon peas), Morcilla (blood sausage), Trifongo (a mixture of fried green and ge over cooking banana with yuca) and tembleque (coconut pudding) – and of course a cover band ("Despacito") and "Billie Jean".
Behind the dance floor: a huge illuminated version of the tailor-made icon of this short run – a red-white-blue Puerto Rican flag with the silhouette of Alexander Hamilton, hand raised in the air, replacing one point of the star's flag.
"Hamilton" is currently the biggest hit on Broadway, earning around $ 3 million a week. Since the beginning of the performances in the summer of 2015, 466 million dollars were recorded there.
However, Broadway is only one element of the Hamilton Empire. The San Juan-based tour is the sixth simultaneous production of the show, which also runs in New York, Chicago, London and two other touring productions. This new production will be relocated from Puerto Rico to San Francisco for a longer run.
The Puerto Rico production is the first to feature Mr. Miranda in the title role since he finished his Broadway run in July 2016, only in Puerto Rico; When the show moves to California, another actor will step into the role.
Mr. In 2010, Miranda brought his former musical "In the Heights" to Puerto Rico, but his fame has since increased dramatically. Journalists from the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Univision, Telemundo and many other stores came to San Juan to cover the opening of Hamilton. On Friday morning, Mr. Miranda was on "CBS This Morning"; On the 15th of January, a series of the "Tonight Show" by Mr. Fallon will be broadcast from here.
"He comes here in the most concrete way to intervene in the enormous difficulties of this island. Said Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public Theater, the nonprofit association of New York, where "Hamilton" began. "He pumps millions of dollars into the economy and draws a spotlight on Puerto Rico – he uses his megaphone for exactly what it should be used for."
Speaking to reporters, Mr Miranda responded to a handful of political issues. He described "absolutely outrageous" as the possibility that the Trump administration would invest money in the amount of disaster relief for the wall along the Mexican border.
When asked about violence in Puerto Rico, he called it "a virus that affects everything." the United States and Puerto Rico at this moment. "But he also said," I am pleased to welcome everyone on this island. You should not have any reservations about the visit.
Miranda said part of the show had unexpectedly become emotional – the song "Hurricane" about a storm that struck St. Croix in 1772, which was a new response given the storm that struck Puerto Rico in 2017.
and it is very difficult to sing here, "he said. "I did not make it on stage the first time. I could go through it tonight. "