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CBS News correspondent David Begnaud conducted the first live interview in Puerto Rico today with Tony, GRAMMY, Emmy and Pulitzer Prize winner Lin-Manuel Miranda as “Hamilton” prepares to open for a limited three-week run there. The interview was broadcast on CBS THIS MORNING (7:00-9:00 AM, ET/PT).

Begnaud was also the first to have a behind-the-scenes tour with cast members as the production prepares to open to raise money for artists and art organizations recovering from Hurricane Maria.


Behind The Scenes: Making of “Hamilton” in Puerto Rico:

Lin-Manuel Miranda: Puerto Rico Needs “Debt Forgiveness” to Recover:

Message from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Eighth Grade Teacher Brings “Hamilton” Star to Tears:


– “I didn’t realize how important it was to me that this island that I love so much embraced my work, and it’s hard to get Broadway shows to Puerto Rico.”

On what it is going to take to bring Puerto Rico to prosperity: “It’s going to take Congress really investing in the rebuilding effort on a scale commensurate with the other hurricane relief that’s happened in the U.S. on the mainland.”

On playing Alexander Hamilton with a two-year hiatus: “It’s like riding a bike in New York traffic. I know the route. I don’t know if someone’s going to open a cab door on me. But I do know the way home.”

Below is the story:

Dr. Rembert Herbert is the man who first told “Hamilton” creator and Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda that he “could be good” at writing musicals. Ahead of the show’s debut in Puerto Rico, Dr. Herbert shared a message with Miranda that brought him to tears.

Lin, this is your old English teacher, Dr. Herbert, here. I’m sure you didn't imagine when you were in the eighth grade and set some of ‘The Chosen’ to music that it would lead you where you are today, but congratulations. I’ve heard a lot about what you’re doing in Puerto Rico, and I wish you well in those endeavors and continued great success down there,” Herbert said.

Miranda is reprising his role as Alexander Hamilton for a three-week run of his Tony Award-winning musical in Puerto Rico as part of an effort to raise money and awareness for the U.S. territory after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. Miranda’s family has deep roots in Puerto Rico, the island where his parents were born and where he also spent summers growing up. This is the first time in more than two years that he will play the role he originated on Broadway.

Dr. Herbert’s the reason I'm sitting here talking to you,” a tearful Miranda told CBS News’ David Begnaud after watching his former teacher’s message.

I wrote a musical instead of doing my homework for his class in eighth grade. He said, ‘You could be good at this, and you should stop hibernating in my class, and you should be doing this.’ Because we had a student-written theater club at my high school, and Rembert’s the one who nudged me in that direction, and he sort of changed my life forever with that,” Miranda said.

Chef José Andrés, who distributed more than three million meals to hungry Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria, also congratulated Miranda in a message that too made him cry.

Lin-Manuel, congratulations. Only you will bring ‘Hamilton’ to beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. So thank you for bringing so much hope to the beautiful American people of Puerto Rico. After all, you know it. Immigrants get the s*** done,” Andres said.

You made me cry by having chef Jose Andres before the interview even started. That’s really unfair,” Miranda said.

Despite the hundreds of performances under his belt, Miranda said the “most nervous” he’s ever been performing the show was at Thursday night’s dress rehearsal. Why? Because his 4-year-old son was in the audience.

He had seen Act I of the show. He had never seen it with me in it. We had a long talk about Act II and how everything is pretend. Everything daddy is doing on that stage is pretend. Kissing that lady is pretend. Pretending to get shot is pretend, I’m still alive. And it worked because at the end he high-fived Donald Weber who plays Burr, and that guy shot daddy on stage. Everything is gravy after that.”

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Press Contact:

Samantha Graham