Miguel Cervantes on Saying Good-Bye to Hamilton After 2,013 Performances

Interview with Miguel Cervantes, who played Hamilton for eight years.

Highlights:

According to Lin-Manuel Miranda, who made curtain call remarks at Cervantes' closing performance, "That's 6,039 hours you've been on this stage [as Hamilton], a total of 251.6 days, 24/7. In other words, to find someone who has been Alexander Hamilton longer than Miguel Cervantes, you have to go back to the late 1700s to talk to the original guy."

The consistency of the show is perhaps the only unchanging aspect of Cervantes' life over the last eight years. While some changes were expected and accepted (such as his family moving from New York to Chicago and back to accommodate the sit-down production), others were far more difficult to survive.

On October 12, 2019, Cervantes' daughter Adelaide passed away only five days before what would have been her fourth birthday. Adelaide's brief life was inextricably tied to Hamilton: shortly after Cervantes' was cast, Adelaide was diagnosed with a rare childhood form of epilepsy called Infantile Spasms (IS), which caused her to suffer dozens of seizures each day. Cervantes' wife Kelly became a full-time caretaker for Adelaide and their young son, working alongside several doctors, nurses, and friends to keep Adelaide alive. Meanwhile, Cervantes acted out the horror of a parent losing a child onstage every day.

"I couldn't have written a better version of this tragedy that we experienced," Cervantes states, his voice low with reverence. "I say this all the time: You could have Hamilton, I don't want it, if that meant we could have had a different ending for my daughter. But that was not the option I was given. Instead, this show gave me an opportunity to use my frustrations and anger and sadness."

"Could I have done Hamilton for another year? Yeah, sure. I could have kept going. But the reality of watching my son go from four years old to 11 years old right in front of my eyes..." Cervantes clears his throat, pulling himself out of a memory. "I'm needed somewhere else. And it's a hard thing, because I've never closed a show. I've never left a show before, every show I've ever done in my entire life closed. Since I was a kid, I never left before the show closed. But the recognition of my own mortality, that my kids are getting older, and that life is moving...it was time."

southsamurai,
@southsamurai@sh.itjust.works avatar

Is it fair to say he dreamed the impossible dream?

Donjuanme,

There are too many unpreventable child deaths. I wonder how many of my generation are hesitant to have children because of the what ifs.

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