When actor Miguel Cervantes went in for his final audition for Hamilton in Chicago, he was worried—but not about what would happen in that room.
At that same time, his daughter, Adelaide, was in the hospital for a spinal tap as part of neurological testing to investigate why she had experienced a seizure at just seven months old. “Half of my brain is over there in the hospital,” Cervantes tells The Today Show’s Al Roker in the interview above, “[but] my daughter was in there with me and gave me the fire and the passion I needed to get through this.” His daughter was subsequently diagnosed with epilepsy, which affects one in 26 Americans.
Cervantes did more than get through it. He booked the gig and now stars as Alexander Hamilton in the sit-down Chicago production of the hit musical.
“Miguel is a light,” says Tony-winning Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. “When he came in to audition for Hamilton, the fire in his eyes is just so incredible. You gotta be young, scrappy, and hungry, and he’s all those things.”
Cervantes made his Broadway debut in 2010 in American Idiot, and also appeared in If/Then. Offstage, Cervantes is hungry for a cure for epilepsy. “There are treatments that can subdue seizures, and there are treatments that can aid in quality of life,” he says, but there is no cure. Cervantes and his wife, Kelly, have teamed up with Chicago’s CURE, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, to raise awareness and funds.
In fact, on June 6, Cervantes released a music video, starring himself and fellow cast members from Hamilton, of his original song “‘Til the Calm Comes.” “I wanted to express my feelings as a father when I’m looking at my child and not knowing how to help,” says the actor. “All I want to do is take this away from her, so the calm comes is when all of that’s done and all that goes away and she can become the little girl that I know is in there.”
Proceeds from downloads of the song go to research for epilepsy.
“Kelly and I say all the time we want to meet her, we want to know her,” says Cervantes.
“I hope that she can walk someday. I hope that she can talk,” says Kelly Cervantes. “Maybe we can do a little good in this community while we’re still struggling.”
Watch the music video below and download it on iTunes or Google Play.
Click here for more information about CURE and how you can help aid research for epilepsy.
To purchase Hamilton tickets, click here.