Lin-Manuel Miranda experienced a homecoming unlike any other in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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January 14, 2019 05:20 PM

Lin-Manuel Miranda experienced a homecoming like no other in San Juan, Puerto Rico over the weekend, where his Tony Award-winning phenomenon Hamilton opened for a three-week engagement.

The musical didn’t only receive a standing ovation during its curtain calls — audiences rose to their feet to cheer for Miranda as soon as he took to the stage to play Alexander Hamilton.

“I’ve never felt anything like that,” Miranda, 38, said at a press conference after Friday’s opening night. “It’s like performing to outer space. ‘Alexander Hamilton’ – pwhaaaaaah! I didn’t see anyone standing; I just felt it. It was the first time I felt a cheer. I felt my hair move because of a cheer and I will never forget it.”

RELATED: Hamilton in Puerto Rico: Lin-Manuel Miranda Gets Emotional as He Brings His Dad Onstage

Miranda brought his beloved musical about one of America’s founding fathers to Puerto Rico, where he grew up visiting every summer, to uplift the area ravaged by Hurricane Maria.

Gladys Vega/Getty

To coincide with the run, Miranda has co-launched The Flamboyan Arts Fund, dedicated to preserving, amplifying and sustaining the arts in Puerto Rico. All profits from Hamilton‘s Puerto Rico performances go towards the fund.

“Puerto Ricans are the most resilient people on the earth,” he shared on opening night. “I’m in awe of the people every time I come here.”

Miranda has found a powerful corporate sponsor in American Express to bring Hamilton to San Juan. The company is also supporting Puerto Rico’s Hamilton run as part of a larger commitment to the island. Through it has expanded Shop Small initiative, American Express has partnered with many local organizations to encourage Hamilton audience members to shop in San Juan.

Lin-Manuel Miranda at Hamilton's Puerto Rico opening
Carlos Giusti/AP/Shutterstock

“People are going to come to Puerto Rico because of Hamilton, and hopefully spend a lot of money here in small businesses on the island,” Miranda said. “But they’re also going to see how much work is left to be done.”

For Hamilton‘s opening weekend, 100 lucky American Express cardholders took part in a travel package that included tickets to the show, lodging and flights. Miranda, an American Express Global Brand Ambassador, also participated in a meet-and-greet with the card members.

Hurricane Maria resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths and about $90 billion in damages after it hit Puerto Rico in September 2017.

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