‘Tonight Show’ Will Head To Puerto Rico For Special ‘Hamilton’ Episode
Commercials over the weekend on NBC had teased a “special announcement” from Tonight Show guest Lin-Manuel Miranda, and on Monday night the host announced that The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will head to Puerto Rico next month for a special show based on the upcoming San Juan production of Miranda’s popular musical Hamilton.
Miranda, who wrote the lyrics and music and originally starred in Hamilton: An American Musical, is bringing a production of the show to the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan from January 8-27, and it will raise money for hurricane relief, through the Flamboyan Arts Fund. According to Deadline, the Fallon episode will feature a special performance by the show’s cast, with Miranda returning to the title role of Alexander Hamilton.
Fallon described the upcoming episode, which will air January 15, as “a celebration of the life, the light, the spirit of Puerto Rico, and its people and its culture.”
Miranda, a New York native who is of Puerto Rican descent, was also on the show to promote his new movie, Mary Poppins Returns, in which he plays a supporting role.
— The Tonight Show (@FallonTonight) December 18, 2018
Hamilton debuted in 2015. Based on a nonfiction book by Ron Chernow, the show tells the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life, through the American Revolution and the early years of the nation, up until his death in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804. The twist was that the musical cast actors of color as the white founding fathers, and included hip-hop and other modern musical styles.
The winner of 11 Tony Awards, Hamilton is still playing on Broadway, while also running productions in London and Chicago and a continuing national tour. There are rumors of an eventual movie adaptation, as well as the possibility that a filmed production of the original cast’s performance will be released in some form. In in the meantime, Miranda’s other musical, In the Heights, is getting a movie adaptation, set for release in 2020.
Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria when it struck the island in September and October of 2017. Alexander Hamilton’s hometown of Christiansted, on the Carribean island of Nevis, was similarly struck by a hurricane in 1772, leading Hamilton to set sail for the United States that same year. The hurricane is referenced more than once in Miranda’s musical.
The January episode will represent the first visit to Puerto Rico in the entire history of The Tonight Show, which dates back to 1954.