Star of the Week: Lin-Manuel Miranda began a revolution with Hamilton


Lin-Manuel Miranda is a man who needs no introduction.

As the creator of the smash-hit Hamilton, which has changed the look, feel, and sound of Broadway forever, Miranda has become a household name both inside and outside of the theatre community. People who had minimal interest in Broadway prior to Hamilton’s success are now flocking to the Richard Rodgers Theatre, entering the daily lottery, and praying that one day they can find a way into the room where it happens.

Despite the monumental success of this show, Miranda remains humble as ever. He recognizes the attention that Hamilton is getting and attempts to divert it to the other shows currently on Broadway as well.

Miranda’s deep and abiding love for all things theatrical began at a young age as his parents encouraged and nourished his developing passion. During his sophomore year at Wesleyan University he wrote the first draft of In the Heights, which is an anthem to Washington Heights, the neighborhood in which he was born and near where Miranda grew up. The show eventually made its way to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway and was nominated for 13 Tony Awards. In the Heights won four Tonys including Best Musical and Best Original Score, during which Miranda delivered the evening’s most powerful acceptance speech with a rap.

His tradition of garnering high acclaim continued at this year’s Tony Awards, where Hamilton received 11 awards, just one shy of tying the all-time record. The musical was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama as well as the Best Musical Theatre Album at the Grammy Awards.

And, yet again, Miranda’s acceptance speech, which was delivered as a sonnet, for Best Score was one of the evening’s most prolific moments. Miranda spoke passionately of the Orlando shooting victims, which moved him and millions of viewers to tears. Before long, his words, “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept away”, could be seen all over the Internet and even on billboards in Orlando itself.

Much like the title character he portrays in Hamilton, Miranda is non-stop. The sheer number of projects he is constantly and simultaneously working on seems impossible, and yet he still keeps a prominent presence on social media. In addition to his work on Broadway, some of his latest projects include penning the songs for the new Disney film Moana and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He was also recently cast alongside Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns, the highly anticipated sequel to Mary Poppins.

Miranda has taken his explosion of success, influence, and power and created a legacy that expands far beyond Hamilton. He can often be seen in Ham4Ham videos, either performing or enthusiastically enjoying the performances of others. The Internet recently went wild when Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Audra McDonald, Jane Krakowski, James Corden and Miranda collaborated on the now-infamous Carpool Karaoke.

While Miranda may not be as young or scrappy as he was during In the Heights, he is still just as hungry. He has spoken out against inequalities in every form again and again, with a voice that carries more weight than that of many legislators. Miranda spoke before Congress in March and wrote a piece appealing to them in the New York Times in an effort to get them to bail out Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that does not receive any benefits from its status.

He later wrote another New York Times article speaking out against the bots that are one of the reasons that ticket prices for Hamilton are so outrageous. He also plans to expand the number of $10 Ham4Ham seats from 21 to more than 40 seats in 2017 in an effort to make the show more accessible. 

Shortly after the Tony Awards, it was announced that Miranda will have his final performance in Hamilton on July 9. Anxious fans need not fret – the original cast will also be filmed before his departure.

It’s accomplishment enough to turn a Broadway musical into a global phenomenon but Miranda, who has officially been named as a genius after receiving the MacArthur Fellowship, has solidified his place in the history books as an artist, activist, and trailblazer. How lucky we are to be alive right now to witness his revolution. 

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About Brooke R.

"Don't wait for people to tell you who you are. Show them." - Laura Benanti

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