At the Puerto Rico theater that ‘Hamilton’ left behind, disappointment stands center stage

chicagotribune.com | 1/15/2019 | Staff
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The quadrangle in front of the historic Teatro de la Universidad de Puerto Rico is so quiet that you can hear a feral cat meowing as it lounges on the theater steps.

The plaintive sound echoes across the empty plaza with its freshly painted benches in joyful shades of yellow, red, pink, orange and blue.

Humid - Afternoon - Previews - Lin-Manuel - Miranda

This humid, eerily windless afternoon was not supposed be so lifeless. Previews had been scheduled to begin for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” the Broadway hit coming to Puerto Rico to raise money and spirits for hurricane-ravaged communities here. Miranda was to reprise the title role and lead a passion project aiding the island where his family has its roots and where he spent summers as a child. The quadrangle was supposed to be teeming with fans picking up their tickets for Puerto Rico’s cultural event of the year — if not the decade.

Instead university communications director Mario Alegre Barrios is standing in the center of the sprawling space, blinking in the relentless sunlight and talking about what never came to be.

Year - Planning - University - Administration - Students

After more than a year of planning by university administration, students and show producers, “Hamilton” announced on Dec. 21 — less than a month before opening night — that it was relocating the production to Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré, the cultural center about five miles away, to avoid the threat of union unrest and campus protests over rising fees. On Dec. 27, crews came to remove the sets that had been in place for much of the month. Three days later, all that remained were the light post banners proudly trumpeting a show that no longer was coming.

“We have a breakdown,” Barrios says, describing the collective reaction to a move that left many at Teatro UPR reeling. “It was a very hard time. Some people...
(Excerpt) Read more at: chicagotribune.com
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