b'Grief, Joy, Activism,and HamiltonThe Cervantes family reflects on the death of one child and the adoption of anotherBY DONNY LEVITThe Cervantes family: Miguel, Kelly, Jackson, and Anessa T he Cervantes family has lived an odys- Miguel would be with Jackson during the day, says[in town] and I started a little baseball business. I sey: mourning the loss of their daugh- Kelly. I was working during the day and we wouldthought that maybe Id focus more on TV and film, ter and celebrating her life; becomingliterally hand him off on the side of the street as onesays Miguel. vital activists for the epilepsy commu- of us was about to get on the subway. Iusedto nity; and deciding to become adoptiveA friend of mine had moved to South Orange. Ijokethat parents. Throughout all of this, actordidnt know what that meant. I thought it was waymaybeIm MiguelCervanteshasperformedtheout in the country, recalls Miguel. We found a lit- done[with title role of Hamilton over 1,700 timesthats moretle house by the high school and it was perfect theater]un-times than Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. And theAll of a sudden we were little suburban commut- less Lin calls couplehastheincrediblegiftofmakingtheun- ers and it was awesome. In 2015, Kelly gave birthtoofferme speakablespeakable. to their daughter Adelaide. Miguel would take theHamilton.Miguel and Kelly Cervantes moved to Maplewoodtrain into the city at night as Kelly headed home.Mi g u e l in 2013 for reasons similar to many New York CityOur trains literally passed each other, he says.receivedan residents, looking for their next step. Our two-bed- Before there was Hamilton, Miguel performed ininvitation to room apartment in Astoria was amazing, says Miguel.Broadway productions including American Idiot andaudition and But then their son, Jackson, started walking, and theIf/Then. He struggled with the chaotic schedule thatgotthejob. family was quickly outgrowing their Queens home. prevented him from spending time with his family.Thefam-Kelly, who at the time was the director of eventsMeanwhile, Kellys career had blossomed, allowingilymoved at Riverpark in Manhattan, recalls the frenetic on- him to consider spending time at home on a moretoChicago ly-in-NewYorkstreetexchangesoftheirsonasregular basis. whereheMiguel Cervantes performs the role of her husband headed out to his acting job at night.I was playing the guitar and singing for kidswouldper- Hamilton full time on Broadway.12/ matters magazine / summer 2023'