If Lin-Manuel Miranda was looking for a reason to dust off his Alexander Hamilton costume one last time, he’s finally found it. Earlier this week, President Obama commuted the sentence of Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, who was serving 70 years in prison for his 1981 conviction of “seditious conspiracy” against the U.S. government. Since Rivera’s sentencing, activists and politicians have led the charge to see him released. In celebration of the commutation, Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent, has announced that he will reprise the award-winning role in an upcoming Chicago production of “Hamilton,” the Chicago Tribune reports. No date has been given, but Rivera is expected to be in attendance.
When news broke about Rivera being granted clemency, Lin-Manuel Miranda was one of the many who tweeted their love and support.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 17, 2017
There are many parallels between the “Hamilton” musical and Oscar López Rivera’s story. After serving in the U.S. military in Vietnam, and earning a Bronze Star Medal, Time reports, Rivera turned his attention towards the struggle of Puerto Rico and its fight for independence. Though Rivera was convicted in 1981 for charges related to his role with the Puerto Rican Nationalist group FALN, Rivera has maintained that he was a political prisoner. He previously rejected clemency from President Bill Clinton, because the terms of the commuted sentence violated Rivera’s beliefs, according to the New York Times.
Rivera’s life definitely captures the spirit of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” which chronicles the fledgling days of the U.S., when its forefathers fought against tyranny and oppression in favor of freedom.
This isn’t the first time Miranda has shown his pride in Puerto Rico.
CREDIT: LAST WEEK TONIGHT / HBO
Puerto Rico’s future, which has long been on the edge of financial ruin, is a topic of concern for Miranda. Just last year, Miranda appeared on “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” to perform a heartfelt, original song highlighting just exactly what’s at stake for the unincorporated territory.