CHICAGO - "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was in Chicago Wednesday asking everyone to support Puerto Rico in the struggle to survive the ravages of Hurricane Maria.
Miranda chose the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in Humboldt Park for his appeal. He's made it his personal mission to help the island of his ancestry, and wants Chicago to join him.
"Division Street and Humboldt Park, it's a testament to how engaged and passionate the Puerto Rican community is, so that's why I'm here," he said.
Miranda released a single in October to raise money for the island. Every Hispanic artist he asked - from Jennifer Lopez to Gloria Estefan - lent their voices to the cause.
"The song 'Maria' from West Side Story would forever have a different connotation in the wake of this hurricane. I made it my challenge: Can we put all 78 towns into a song lyric and still make you want to dance to it and buy it?" Miranda explained.
"Almost like praying for me; it was a love letter. I don't want to write any lyrics that have false 'We are the World,' help is on the way type thing. I said, let me wright the names of the towns, let me lift those up as if they were a prayer," he said.
The choice of Chicago was deliberate.
"I'm also incredibly proud of our 'Hamilton' company here in Chicago. Our cast had a concert for relief efforts on the 30th. It went brilliantly," he said. "I'm here because Chicago has one of the most vibrant, incredibly Puerto Rican communities in the United States."
"I'd much rather be telling you about some new musical I'm working on, but this is sort of the new full-time gig until there's a sense of normalcy on the island," Miranda said. "This is family, this is friends, this is who we are."
Wednesday evening Miranda will be at the closing session of the Obama Foundation Summit along with the former President and Chicago's own Common. The topic is collective power.