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More than 30 members of Congress will visit Puerto Rico during Hamilton's opening week

"Hamilton" gets ready for Puerto Rico premiere
"Hamilton" gets ready for premiere in Puerto Rico 08:15

Vega Alta, Puerto Rico — A contingent of more than 30 Democratic members of Congress will visit Puerto Rico during the opening week of "Hamilton" on the island. Newly minted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was expected to be among them, the father of the Broadway hit's creator told CBS News, but a spokesperson for Pelosi said the speaker did not ultimately travel to the island with the delegation.

"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," Luis Miranda told CBS News during an exclusive interview in a municipality on the island's northern coast that has become a tribute to Miranda's son, Lin-Manuel Miranda.  

CBS News' David Begnaud interviews Luis Miranda, the father of Hamilton's creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Camilo Montoya-Galvez

The Miranda family hopes to lobby members of Congress for more federal investment in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the devastating hurricanes that struck the island in 2017 and is facing financial turmoil. The Trump administration's handling of recovery efforts has been widely criticized by residents and local politicians, as well as by congressional Democrats representing states and districts with large Puerto Rican communities. 

"As we move into the 116th Congress, I will continue calling for accountability for how Donald Trump and his administration failed 3.4 million American citizens after Maria struck," Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-New York, wrote in statement Monday. 

Velázquez, who was born in Puerto Rico, reintroduced legislation this week alongside other Democrats to establish a commission to probe the federal response on the island in the aftermath of hurricanes Maria and Irma. 

"It is clear now, from multiple analyses, that thousands ... needlessly lost their lives because of the federal government's feeble response to these hurricanes and their aftermath," she said.  

The House and Senate Democrats heading to Puerto Rico will be there for a winter retreat organized by Bold PAC, a political committee and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' fundraising arm. A source involved in the event's planning who asked not to be named told CBS News it will be the largest congressional delegation to visit the island.  

The group is expected to raise awareness about the infrastructure and economic challenges Puerto Rico is facing and will meet with local officials.

"I'm looking forward to the robust exchange of information of the largest group of Federal Elected officials to assure that it remains a national priority," Bold PAC chair Congressman Tony Cardenas wrote in statement to CBS News. "We will be meeting with Governor Rosselló, State & local elected officials and community leaders."

Some members of the delegation are expected to attend "Hamilton" on Friday, its opening night.

The musical's three-week run in Puerto Rico is raising money for artists and arts organizations. The funds will go to the Flamboyan Arts Fund, started by the Miranda family. 

Because the island is still recovering from hurricanes and experiencing economic woes, the Miranda family has put a $10 price tag on 10,000 "Hamilton" tickets, including many for university students. The discounted tickets are reserved for Wednesday performances.

Other tickets, however, are much higher. A single ticket on opening night, which is the same day as Hamilton's birthday, can be as high as $5,000.

"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 said. 

Miranda projects the production will leave behind $15 million during the next three weeks for the Flamboyan Arts Fund, which will offer grants to local cultural organizations. 

"Nobody is making a penny here. All the investors, everyone has agreed that everything stays in the island — in the arts funds," he said.

Begnaud will conduct the first live interview in Puerto Rico with Lin-Manuel Miranda as "Hamilton" prepares to debut on the island. The interview will air on "CBS This Morning" on Friday, January 11, and additional coverage will be broadcast on the "CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor," "CBS This Morning: Saturday," and on CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 streaming news service.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to note Pelosi did not travel to Puerto Rico.

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