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Back On Broadway: Miguel Cervantes Talks Leading the Broadway Return of HAMILTON in the Show's Title Role

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Hamilton officially reopened on Broadway on September 14, 2021.

BroadwayWorld's new interview series Back on Broadway is taking readers on the exciting journey of Broadway's return to the stage! Featuring interviews with cast and creative team members of Broadway's returning shows, Back on Broadway will highlight how members of Broadway shows are preparing for live performances, what they've learned from the last year and half, what is most exciting to them about Broadway's long-awaited return, and much more!

Next up in the series is Miguel Cervantes, leading the Broadway return of Hamilton in the show's title role.

Hamilton


Hamilton had one of the most-anticipated Broadway returns, and it helped kick off the celebration of the return of Broadway, please tell me what opening night was like!

Getting there I was super nervous, I was super excited. And going out there to "Alexander Hamilton..." the energy that came blowing through the stage, it was just unbelievable. There was nothing like it. And you could feel that it really had nothing to do with Hamilton, you know what I mean? It had nothing to do with us, or me, or our show in particular, you could just feel this pent up excitement and a yearning to be in everyone else's energy and space. And so, we just let it happen and it happened the entire night. Any time anybody came on stage, everyone was screaming and yelling. Every number. We had to wait for what felt like forever between each number. That energy, I don't know if it will ever happen again, but, cast, crew, audience, everybody was sharing an experience. The story that we were telling almost felt secondary to the real thing that was happening, which was that we were all joining in each other's presence, hoping that this was the beginning of the next part of our lives. And it felt that way all the way through to the very end. It was overwhelming to feel so much energy coming, and it was nothing less than beautiful.

You originated the role of Alexander Hamilton in Chicago, what has it been like for you stepping into the role on Broadway?

There were times in rehearsal I thought, "Oh, I know how to do this. I've done this, I know how this goes." And then they would start playing music for 'Hurricane' for instance, it was like I had never sang it before! Like, "Wait, how does this song go?", "I stand where?" There were so many times in rehearsal that I was like, "I never did that!" I've done it more than any other human being on the planet. I've done the role more than anyone else, anywhere, and I'd get to a point in the show and be like, "Which way do I go here? How do I get offstage?" That was happening. And not just me, I think everybody on the stage felt that way- it had only been a mere 18 months since we got up there.

Coming into a production that's been going already, it has it's own challenges. Saying, "Oh, hello, my name is Miguel, your name is Crystal? Okay, I'm going to kiss you in a little while so, nice to meet you." That's how it rolls, and you're figuring out chemistry, and dynamics, and energy, and movement, in real time in front of audiences. That was what I expected, and I actually did that for a week in March 2020 before we shut down. And so, the amazing part, not that we ever would have asked for it, but being able to go in to a rehearsal, it was almost like we were remounting the production from scratch.

For that reason I feel like the new Broadway production we're giving you is a little bit more special because we were able to go into rehearsal and share energy. Not to mention, we're all coming in with different perspectives of life. Our life perspective has been altered immeasurably by each individual experience outside of theater in the reality of the life that we're living in. Not only the pandemic, but the racial and social ideas that have come to light, which, Hamilton has taken and run with, which has been so amazing to watch and be a part of. We are bringing all of that into this new production of Hamilton, and I hope that shows.

And how has it been working with the incredible cast and crew of Hamilton on Broadway?

I don't even think you could categorize what Hamilton is, I always call it a unicorn, a lightning strike. It's something that may never happen again, how far reaching it is. And everyone understands what that means, and how beautiful that is, to be part of something like this that means so much to so many people. There's a certain responsibility with being in show like Hamilton that gets so much press and attention, and I think everyone understands that, you can feel everyone take it seriously. Everyone is also taking COVID very seriously, because we know how important this is to people. We know how important this is to be up there, and lead the way with The Lion King and Wicked and the other long-haulers that have been around, to keep people engaged and hopeful. That's really what the biggest feeling there is.

You can look around and everyone is smiling, everyone is excited to be back to work and back with our family. As cheesy as it sounds it's true. We're all there just excited to be in each other's lives again, and doing the thing, you know? There's always a sense of trepidation, "Are we going to be okay?" How long are we going to be able to do this?" This is the reality of when we're living. And all the precautions we can take, we are doing, and taking it seriously. But, sometimes there are other plans that are out of our control. So, every time we get to go up and down without any sort of interruption from the outside world, we feel excited about that and thankful, grateful that we are able to do it, and we are continuing to stay safe and able to do it.

What is your favorite part about playing Alexander Hamilton?

It's such a crazy question, because there are so many things about what I get to do onstage that are just unbelievable. As an actor, a person who wants to be on stage, what do you want to do? Do you want to be a young person with energy, jumping around and having dance numbers and production numbers? Check? Do you want to be the love interest and make out with somebody on stage and do that whole thing? Check. Do you want to do some emotional stuff and cry and really get down and dirty in human emotion? Check. Do you want to die yourself? Check. All the things. Everything. Do you want to do some funny stuff, some comedy? Check. There are so many things about the character that Lin wrote, it's so unbelievable. He was like, "I want to do all those things." So, he did it. To jump on those coattails and be able to go through this journey every night, that, to me, is the coolest thing.

My other favorite part is engaging with people. So many people love Hamilton so much, it means so much to them. I can't count how many times young Latino and Hispanic kids would talk to me after the show and see me and say, "It's just so great to see someone with your name, someone like you up there." That part I miss the most, that is the most amazing thing about being able to be this guy, is how it affects people. How much it means to people. So, hopefully that will come back soon, being able to engage with people and sign the things and get the pictures, because I understand what it means to people, for all different reasons.

What would you say you've learned from the past year and a half that you'll take with you going forward?

Time is such an overlooked resource that we have. I've watched my son go from 7 years old to 9 years old. And I've watched him grow and I've watched how our family has changed, and I've been able to be a part of that. I say this understanding that the pandemic affected people in so much more terrible and difficult ways than it did me, I was lucky. But in those moments, through the misery of all of it, you can see how important it is to make the most of the time that we have. Even the dumbest moments, the smallest moments. You're like, "I just need to get through the week." And now I'm like, "No, let's not get through it. Let's live in it. Let's live in this for as long as we can."

Every second on that stage, every sweat drop, every tired 'Dear Theodosia'. I love it. Live in it. "Remember this feeling because it's going to go." And one day my son is going to be 15 years old and I'm going to be 50, all of these things are going to happen. So, I've learned to appreciate time, every single second that I get to spend with him, with my wife, with my cast members. These things have taken on such a greater meaning than they ever would have before. And I think that's what I'm going to carry with me through however much longer they let me do it! Which, if it's up to me, it's going to be until I'm 75 years old.


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