Starry send-off for Hamilton creator

Actor Lin-Manuel Miranda (above right) at his last performance, with fellow cast members Phillipa Soo and Christopher Jackson.
Actor Lin-Manuel Miranda (above right) at his last performance, with fellow cast members Phillipa Soo and Christopher Jackson.PHOTO: REUTERS

Singer Jennifer Lopez and US Secretary of State John Kerry among those at Lin-Manuel Miranda's final show

NEW YORK • The final bows of Lin-Manuel Miranda for his farewell performance in Hamilton last Saturday night seemed routine, if overly humble for the departure of the show's star and mastermind.

He even shared his bows with the other cast members also exiting the show, including Phillipa Soo and Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr.

But then the theme song to The West Wing kicked in from the orchestra pit.

Miranda, 36, giggled and took a couple of shy bows, only to turn around and be embraced then pushed back to the front of the stage by Christopher Jackson, who plays George Washington, for a proper bow.

Still, the curtain call lasted no more than 21/2 minutes, despite fervent applause, which had been consistent throughout the night.

The opening number received multiple standing ovations, as did many others. But Miranda and other performers would pause for only a minute each time before moving the show forward.

Holding an umbrella and waving to fans, Miranda paced from one side of the Richard Rodgers Theatre's marquee to the other, occasionally stopping to hold his left hand over his heart to show gratitude. Then he was gone.

Afterwards, in the pouring rain, hundreds of fans filled West 46th Street, waiting for Miranda to emerge from the stage door at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

Instead, he appeared, "Evita"- like, on a balcony atop the theatre's marquee. Holding an umbrella and waving to fans, he paced from one side of the marquee to the other, occasionally stopping to hold his left hand over his heart to show gratitude.

Then he was gone.

"It's over, folks," a police officer yelled as he tried to keep the crowd out of the street. "There's no more."

Yesterday, Javier Munoz, 40, replaced Miranda, who has been in the show since it made its debut off-Broadway early last year.

Munoz, Miranda's understudy, steps into the title role of the biggest Broadway show in years, playing the United States Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, who was killed in an 1804 duel with Vice-President Aaron Burr.

The hip-hop musical with a multi- racial cast picked up 11 Tony awards last month and has become a pop culture phenomenon.

Miranda has already lined up his next gig, playing a street lamplighter in Disney's upcoming Mary Poppins Returns sequel.

Last Saturday, despite the rain, many people were reluctant to leave, greeting other cast members at the stage door and holding out for another possible appearance by Miranda. Inside, he had gotten his hair cut, now that he no longer needed it long for the role.

Fans had begun to wait for him much earlier in the day.

An hour before the 8pm curtain, hundreds of people flanked the stage door to watch cast members and VIPs come and go, and others stood across the street. Many did not even have tickets.

Hamilton merchandise abounded: T-shirts, posters and even a woman's clutch that read "Talk Less", the advice Burr gives Hamilton throughout the show.

Celebrities came through the box-office doors. Singer Jennifer Lopez, who recently collaborated with Miranda on a benefit song to aid those affected by the Orlando, Florida, massacre, attracted attention with the flashes of paparazzi, as did Secretary of State John Kerry with his security detail.

Director Spike Lee came for his eighth Hamilton performance.

Actress Mariska Hargitay showed up for the 10th time.

No one seemed as devoted as comedienne Rosie O'Donnell, who said this was her 24th time, including performances off- Broadway.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2016, with the headline 'Starry send-off for Hamilton creator'. Print Edition | Subscribe