Lin-Manuel Miranda no longer needs an introduction. He has already inspired generations, and therefore we have no problem leading with a quote from him on one of his own inspirations:
“I read a book that I hadn’t read in a really long time, and it’s called Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. The first time I read it I was 18 years old… It is all about growing into who you are and about being able to go within yourself and use art to understand the world.” If we immerse ourselves into different areas of our passions and interests, we enhance our knowledge of the world around us. He should know. He brought the streets of Washington Heights to Broadway and introduced the story of a West Indies founding father to contemporary hip-hop and rap beats. His work is nothing short of, um, well, revolutionary, and bringing Hamilton to Puerto Rico is certainly his latest achievement for fans, but most certainly the people of Puerto Rico.
On December 27, JetBlue and Discover Puerto Rico hosted a welcoming event at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport as Lin-Manuel Miranda touched down on la isla de encanto. In October 2018, Miranda announced that he would be bringing Hamilton to the island he calls home. As Hamilton takes the stage at the Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferrè theatrein Santurce from January 11 to January 27, Miranda is confident that this opportunity will bring more people to the island, resulting in an increase in tourism and revenue a year after Hurricane Maria caused major devastation on the island, “To be able to work with tourism and invite the world to Puerto Rico is another dream for me because [Raul] Julia did it for us, and I am happy to do it for a new generation.” Raul Julia being one of Puerto Rico’s earliest Broadway actors to be recognized for his talent.
The road to rehabilitation from Hurricane Maria is long, but there has been a good deal of charitable funding for the island, especially from stars like Miranda. He has contributed to initiatives that help coffee growers, raising $43 million for the Hispanic Federation’s relief fund. Most of the funding is dedicating towards rebuilding the island’s infrastructure and restoring the economy, therefore ceasing funds for any of the island’s arts initiatives. However, Lin believes that the arts is everything, “My goal is to demystify art so the young people can realize ‘I can do this. I can write my truth and change the world, and so I will continue to do that every time I come to the island.” His latest proposal of establishing an arts fund with the Flamboyan Foundation aims to revive, sustain, and enrich the island’s arts and cultural production. With all profits from Hamilton in Puerto Rico being donated to the Flamboyan Arts fund, Lin-Manuel Miranda will help to bring back what the island gave to him: inspiration.
Hamilton is currently playing in Puerto Rico for $10 dollars a ticket. Puerto Rico’s recent troubles go well beyond physical recovery as financial debt has plagued the island for a decade. But there is a parallel between American founder’s early years and the current story of Puerto Rico, both will survive hurricanes and destitution and go on to thrive — especially if a certain playwright does not throw away his shot.