Miguel Cervantes Is No Stranger to Twists of Fate

The actor had just begun performing as Broadway’s new Hamilton when the coronavirus hit.

Miguel Cervantes
Maplewood’s Miguel Cervantes in the title role of Hamilton. He starred in the Chicago cast before coming to Broadway. Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

Sometimes, it must seem like the world is taunting Miguel Cervantes.

After years of auditions and smaller roles, Cervantes was pretty sure he had reached the end of the line as an actor by 2016. The Maplewood resident was teaching children’s classes in the Music for Aardvarks program and had started a business aimed at teaching baseball to kids. He joked with friends that he was moving on from acting, “unless Lin-Manuel Miranda calls and offers me the role of Hamilton.”

Miranda was not the one who called, but Cervantes did get in the door for a series of Hamilton auditions and was pleasantly surprised to receive callbacks. He ultimately landed a place in the cast. After performing a few shows on Broadway, Cervantes moved with his wife and two young children to Chicago, where he assumed the title role in that city’s cast of Hamilton for the entire three-year run. When that production shut down this past January, Cervantes learned he would be taking the title spot in the Broadway cast. Alas, after a handful of performances, all of Broadway went dark due to the coronavirus emergency.

[RELATED: Meet the Jersey-Bred Actor Starring in Broadway’s ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’]

It wasn’t the first time that tough luck had struck the Texas native. Tragically, his daughter, Adelaide, passed away in October 2019 after a battle with epilepsy that had been diagnosed when she was just 7 months old—soon after the family moved to Chicago. Adelaide’s struggle became a touchstone during their time there, and cast members and the entire community enveloped the Cervantes family in loving support.

“My line is, ‘I hope people think I’m a good Hamilton; I hope people think I did a good job,’” says Cervantes. “But through Hamilton, if people think of us as the people who fought for epilepsy, and they can remember my daughter as the warrior and think about what her life meant, that’s better.”

Read more Arts & Entertainment articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown