Tickets to the production of “Hamilton” in Puerto Rico, with creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in a starring role, have not gone on sale yet. No doubt the three-week run will sell out before most people have even heard that they’re available.
But there is one way to reserve a ticket to the evening performance on Jan. 26 at the University of Puerto Rico’s Teatro UPR in San Juan. It comes at a price, but one that is far less than the $9,100 mezzanine seats available through two outlets for the current performance at the Richard Rogers Theater in New York. (And that’s for a production not starring Lin-Manuel.)
Tickets for the Jan. 26, 2019, performance in Puerto Rico are available for $1,500 each as a fundraiser for the St. John School of the Arts. SJSA board member Ronnie Lee was able to procure a limited number of tickets through a long-time business relationship with one of the producers of the show, Jeffrey Seller.
“When it was rumored that Lin-Manuel was going to perform in Puerto Rico, I contacted Jeffrey Seller immediately to confirm that St. John School of the Arts wanted to purchase a block of tickets to use as a fundraiser,” said Lee. “It was especially fitting as proceeds from the engagement in San Juan will be used to revive the arts in Puerto Rico.”
Ticket sales from the production in Puerto Rico will benefit the Flamboyan Arts Fund, which was conceived by Miranda and others as a “three-to-five-year initiative to stabilize and strengthen the arts sector,” according to its website. “Since Hurricane Maria devastated the island on Sept. 20, 2017, countless museums, theaters, arts education programs, music venues and other initiatives that have creative facilities have closed or are not operating at capacity.”
With the extra $1,000 tacked onto the sales price for tickets to the Jan. 26 performance in Puerto Rico, the St. John School of the Arts will also be able to meet its goal of making arts programming affordable to the entire St. John community.
SJSA was damaged by Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, which struck the Virgin Islands two weeks before Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Irma took part of the school’s roof, but the administration was able to muster funds quickly to make repairs.
When St. John’s only public school opened in mid-October 2017, students were forced to go on split sessions because so many classrooms were damaged, but the SJSA extended the day for all children by offering free classes in music, drama, dance and the visual arts.
The St. John School of the Arts continues to offer merit and needs-based scholarships so that all youngsters can continue to attend classes. “We never turn anyone away,” said SJSA Executive Director Kim Wild.
In spite of the SJSA’s good intentions, last year’s storms continue to affect the financial situation for many individuals and businesses on St. John. In a community still in the throes of recovery, the usual fundraising efforts are coming up short. This stark reality prompted Lee to reach out to those who can afford to be generous and have wanted to see Lin-Manuel Miranda reprise his role.
Lee said he first saw Hamilton when it premiered off-Broadway in January 2015. “I left early the next morning to return to St John; I almost didn’t need an airplane—the ecstasy of what I’d seen was transport enough,” he recalled. The show eventually won the Pulitzer Prize and 11 Tony Awards.
It’s been slightly more than two years since Miranda stopped performing in the title role, but he told Stephen Colbert on the Late Show that he was looking forward to “getting back to the blouse,” a reference to the frilly shirts worn as costumes by male cast members.
Performing in Puerto Rico “is a weird, full circle thing,” Miranda explained to Colbert. “Hamilton was born in Nevis and grew up on St. Croix. The reason he left the Caribbean–and came to what was then the Colonies–was because of a hurricane that destroyed St. Croix.
“Hamilton wrote a letter to his father describing the carnage, and this letter was somehow published in the Danish-American Gazette and used for relief efforts. It was such a vivid letter that his cousin took up a collection and said, ‘This kid is too smart to be here working as a clerk. Let’s send him to the Colonies to get an education. He can be a doctor, and come back to the island.’
“Hamilton never went back,” Miranda said. “Now 200 years later, because of the aftermath of a deadly hurricane, we’re bringing the company of Hamilton back to the Caribbean to pay it forward. We’re kind of closing the loop here.”
A limited number of tickets through the St. John School of the Arts can still be purchased. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to provisionally reserve a ticket. Payment must be made by check, payable to SJSA and mailed to Ronnie Lee, 107 Cross St., Pound Ridge, NY 10576. As the school is a non-profit organization, $1,161.60 of the full price is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.