Lin-Manuel Miranda is as American as can be, and the composer and co-creator, of the musical that changed Broadway and the history books forever, never hesitates to remind anyone that Puerto Rico is America. The multitalented, Tony-winning composer is being celebrated and adored as never before as he and a cast and crew of 150 bring “Hamilton” to the unincorporated US territory where he spent summers with his grandparents, and from which he drew inspiration to create his 2008 musical of Puerto Rican struggle, hustle, and celebration, “In the Heights.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda experienced the most emotional dress rehearsal of his life, much less with “Hamilton,” having his father and his young son as part of the privileged audience.

This evening, some celebrated attendees will be among the $5000 ticket holders for this exclusive premiere of the musical, but this morning, January 11, on “CBS This Morning,” the composer sat with correspondent, David Begnaud, and more than mingled with the CBS crew and a gathering of $10 ticket holders.

The news anchor, who won acclaim for his deeply personal and in-depth coverage in the aftermath of hurricane Maria, was just one among many who congratulated Lin-Manuel Miranda for this production benefiting the arts on the island.

The composer was deeply moved by many words of warmth from friends, but it was the words from his eighth-grade teacher which elicited the most genuine, emotional response.

Stars and serious talk

“CBS This Morning” devoted a large portion of their morning broadcast to “Hamilton's” arrival in Puerto Rico, and the interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda opened with love from Ingrid Michelson and her dog, and Chef José Andres, who, with his crew, has prepared and served over 1 million meals to ravaged residents on the island.

Don’t miss the latest news!
Click on the topic you interest most. We'll keep you updated with all the news you shouldn't miss.
TV Shows

The famous chef also reiterated that Puerto Rico is American, and added a well-known snippet from the “Hamilton” song, “Yorktown,” singing “immigrants get s@$* done.” The effort brought simultaneous chuckles and a tear from Miranda. Co-anchor Gayle King let it slip that her BFF, Oprah, was planning to be at the premiere.

Even considering all the acclaim that the musical has attained, Miranda related that the dress rehearsal was “extraordinary” and “very familial.” There was a solid 25-second eruption of appreciation simply from the opening declaration, “Alexander Hamilton.” The composer described the moment as receiving all the exuberant gratitude given for the effort in bringing the show to his “roots” and reciprocating all the funds generated to youth and arts.

Lin-Manuel says he is remarkably “calm” on this day of the opening performance, but he becomes more aggressive and animated when it comes to what should be done regarding - of the island.

“No one's making any money,” Miranda stresses, even with the expenses of costumes making the journey by boat, and other expenses incurred with venue changes. Originally, the production was slated for the University of Puerto Rico, where Lin-Manuel’s father attended, but after $1 million in theatre renovation, there were stirrings of possible trouble from demonstrations.

Performances were transferred to the Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferre in San Juan.

During a pivotal juncture in “Hamilton,” James Madison asks how it is possible to go from bankruptcy to prosperity, and the question is prophetic for Puerto Rico now. Miranda is passionate that the first step is relief from Congress that is “commensurate” with that given to US states following natural disasters.

“Debt forgiveness” is essential from the Pulitzer Prize winner’s perspective, so as not to squeeze future generations for all time, and stifle their contribution to their homeland. Lastly, Miranda applauds the steadfast resilience of the Puerto Rican people that will not be bent.

Pupil and Papa

Lin-Manuel Miranda explained that he was “the most nervous in my life” performing in front of his son, Sebastian, who had never seen “Hamilton” beyond the first act, thus never seeing his papa onstage. Dad went to great lengths to assure that “me kissing that lady” and death by duel was only pretend. Miranda still became a bit verklempt in acknowledging being “proud that he was proud” in the remarkable homecoming.

When Dr. Rembert Herbert offered a recorded word of affirmation to his English student from eighth grade, Miranda visibly wept with gratitude and emotion. The star recalled writing a musical “instead of my homework,” and how Rembert encouraged the spark of creativity within the work, “Chosen.” The teacher urged his student to stop hibernating in class because spring had come. Rembert reminded Miranda that he was fully apprised on “all you're doing in Puerto Rico.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda lives out his appreciation for Dr. Herbert, and countless other teachers, in his TV commercials and in every created venture he pursues. Puerto Rico will sense the teacher’s impact on every performance over the next three weeks, and only heaven knows where the composer, actor, and singer will transport audiences next.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!
Click to read more