Lonely Planet Writer

Jimmy Fallon’s love letter to Puerto Rico celebrates the island in recovery mode

As Hamilton kicked off its 17-day run in Puerto Rico, in an effort to fund hurricane relief, Jimmy Fallon and Lin-Manuel Miranda joined forces for a special episode of The Tonight Show. As well as showcasing the beauty of the island, the show reminded viewers that Puerto Rico is still in recovery mode highlighted the different ways in which people can get involved with the rebuilding.

The New York-based show was transported to Puerto Rico to celebrate all that’s wonderful about the Caribbean island. Fallon zip-lined through the jungle, hit the beaches and guest-starred in Hamilton, joining star Miranda on stage for a performance of “The Story of Tonight,” as the world-famous hip-hop musical kicked off its 23-show residency in San Juan.

The talk show host also joined Spanish-American chef José Andrés at beachside restaurant El Rinconcito Latino in Piñones to sample local delicacies (including rum sours and crab-stuffed alcapurria) and to discuss the disaster relief non-profit group World Central Kitchen, which Andrés set up with local chefs in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to provide four million meals to locals.

The Puerto Rican special also included “Feliz Navidad” singer Jose Feliciano collaborating with reggaeton artist Ozuna to sing the classic song “En Mi Viejo San Juan” in Spanish and rapper Bad Bunny performing in the streets of the old town of San Juan, complete with a marching band and dancers.

“I think this shows Puerto Rico that we love them and we didn’t forget and we love them and we want to support them and the rebuilding. I mean it’s already back. It’s open for business,” Fallon told NBC News.

Lin-Manuel Miranda unveils the Puerto Rican flag art at La Placita de Guisin on 7 November 2017, in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. Image by Gladys Vega/Getty Images

The inspiration to the New York-based “Tonight” to Puerto Rico was inspired by Miranda, whose father was born in Puerto Rico. Miranda has been raising money for the victims of Hurricane Maria through Flamboyan Arts Fund, a non-profit he created to support the local arts community. Last year on The Tonight Show, he told Fallon of his plan to stage a Puerto Rico run of “Hamilton,” which opened Friday in San Juan and saw Miranda return to the role of Alexander Hamilton for the first time since 2016. Tickets went on sale 10 November 2018 and sold out in less than 24 hours.

All proceeds from the Puerto Rican run of Hamilton will go towards Flamboyan Arts Fund. For more information, see here.