Dozens of Congressional Democrats flocked to Puerto Rico on Friday to watch the opening weekend of Hamilton amid the ongoing government shutdown, in a trip that organizers hope will allow them to lobby for additional federal funding to the impoverished island.
According to Luis Miranda, a Democratic consultant and the father of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, the trip will provide an opportunity for members of Congress, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to see the need for further investment to Puerto Rico, with the island recovering from the impact of the 2017 hurricane that devastated large swathes of its infrastructure.
“They’ll get to experience firsthand the needs of the island, so that they go back and sort of fight (President) Trump and the Republicans,” he said in an interview with CBS News.
Documents published by The Wall Street Journal‘s Andrew Scurria show hotel rooms at the island’s Concha hotel will cost a hefty $289 a night, while tickets to the show range from $200 to $350.
However, funds raised from the show will go toward the Miranda family’s Flamboyan Arts Fund, which claims to be an “initiative dedicated to preserving, amplifying, and sustaining the arts in Puerto Rico by supporting all facets of the arts community including music, theater, visual arts, dance, literature, and youth arts education.”
While the government shutdown drags on, dozens of Congressional Democrats are staying at $289/night hotel in Puerto Rico this weekend and watching $350/ticket showings of Hamilton. https://t.co/9dhcbqg0hR pic.twitter.com/dPe9TxfNmE
— Andrew Scurria (@AndrewScurria) January 11, 2019
“Most of those dollars go to fund the arts through the Flamboyan Arts Fund. So we have around 2,000 tickets that we are selling for $5,000 and the bulk of that — 4,700 bucks — goes as a philanthropic gift,” Luis Miranda explained. “Nobody is making a penny here. All the investors, everyone has agreed that everything stays in the island — in the arts funds.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s production of Hamilton has long been used as a tool for promoting progressive causes. In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, the director even welcomed then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to his show, introducing her as the “the forty-fifth president of the United States” and imploring people not to vote for Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, shortly after Trump’s victory, the Hamilton cast even ended their performance by lecturing Vice President-elect Mike Pence, declaring that “diverse America” felt “alarmed and anxious” about the incoming Trump administration.