Lin-Manuel Miranda To Play 'Hamilton' In Chicago For Oscar Lopez Rivera

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 18, 2017 3:59PM

Hamilton brainchild Lin-Manuel Miranda says he’s coming to Chicago to join, for a night, the local production of the runaway hit he conceived. His appearance would be in honor of Oscar Lopez Rivera, the Puerto Rican nationalist whose sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama late Tuesday afternoon.

Miranda was “sobbing with gratitude” and wished he “was with every Puerto Rican in Chicago,” he Tweeted. Miranda, who is of mostly Puerto Rican descent and spent time in his youth at his grandparents home on the island, tweeted New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, “I've got a show for him in Chicago. It'll be my honor to play Hamilton the night he goes.”

Lopez Rivera, 74, was sentenced to 55 years in 1981 for conspiracy, among other charges, related to a series of bombings attributed to the FALN, the leftist-liberationist organization that advocated an independent Puerto Rico. (One of FALN's targets, in 1976, was the Shubert Theatre, which is now the PrivateBank Theatre—Hamilton's Chicago venue.) Another 15 years were added to his sentence after an unsuccessful escape attempt. Many Puerto Rican activists, especially in Humboldt Park, where his icon is painted in mural on Division St., advocated his release for years.

Lopez Rivera's sentence will end May 17. His commutation was one of more than 200 announced by the White House on Tuesday, including Chelsea Manning.