Lin-Manuel Miranda literally created the “room where it happens.” Even though the Broadway star has been nominated for five Tony Awards — Hamilton won two, while In the Heights took home one — it seems like his career is only revving up. In fact, Miranda is executive producing a new documentary about legendary star Rita Moreno, which will air in 2020, per NBC News. And his first Broadway show, In the Heights, finished filming and will be released in theaters in summer 2021 (via Playbill).
Not to mention that on July 3, 2020, Hamilton will be available to stream on Disney+, so if you weren’t able to grab a ticket by winning the Broadway lottery or shelling out over $800 for one, then you’re in luck. “No one can predict the way a work is received, and the way Hamilton has been received has surpassed everyone’s wildest dreams, but our biggest issue has always been accessibility,” Miranda told Good Morning America in June 2020.
Ultimately, Miranda is “really glad” Disney+ subscribers will get to see his masterpiece. “We had the luxury to basically shoot an independent film in our first year, and now the world can see what it felt like to be in that room in June 2016 next Friday.”
Before we’re glued to our television screens and singing “Alexander Hamilton” for the foreseeable future, let’s find out more about Miranda.
Lin-Manuel Miranda didn't start out as a Broadway star
Before Lin-Manuel Miranda became a household name in Hollywood, the Broadway star started out in an entirely different field. Miranda began his career as an English teacher at Hunter College High School in New York City. “It was one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had,” he told Education and Career News. “It wasn’t about getting up in front of the class and having all eyes on you — that’s not how great teaching happens.”
Of course, Miranda wanted his students to get creative throughout the day, so at the end of class, the children would get “five minutes of free writing” time. “I’d play some music and the kids would write,” he added. “My only rule was that you couldn’t stop writing. For many of them, it was the only relaxing moment of their day.”
Miranda — who later performed in Hamilton and In the Heights on Broadway — revealed that teaching actually helped him thrive off-stage. “Any nerves that I had about being in front of a crowd were gone by the first week of teaching,” he explained. “It’s the old anxiety dream of being in front of an audience and not knowing what you’re supposed to do.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda says 'Hamilton' was not an 'overnight success'
Even though Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway show Hamilton is a hit now (read: it’s Broadway’s most expensive show ever, per The Daily Beast), that wasn’t always the case. The play — which tells the story about Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s Founding Fathers (played by Miranda), through modern rap songs — didn’t come to life for seven years. “I was swept up by the story,” Miranda told CBS News in 2017 of how he became intrigued by the politician in the first place. “I knew about as much as anyone did about Alexander Hamilton, before I picked up Ron Chernow’s incredible biography.”
“I knew that he was on our $10 bill in the States and I knew that he died in a duel,” he added. “You know you learn that in high school and that was about it.”
Miranda devoured the book while he was on vacation, and the rest is history. “This is no overnight success — took me a year to write the second song in the show — ‘My Shot.’ I’m in awe of people who can just write well and quickly,” he said. “And it took me a long time to be able to write about that guy, but that was sort of what inspired me about his story.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda remains humble about his career
Despite Lin-Manuel Miranda’s success with Hamilton — which earned 16 Tony nominations and won 11, in addition to a Grammy, casual — the composer is still humble about his accolades. “I am so grateful that the success of Hamilton happened sort of a little later in my life,” he told CNBC in 2019. “I already knew who I was and who I wasn’t.”
Miranda — who was 35 when Hamilton debuted in 2015 — gained traction when he wrote and starred in the play In the Heights in 2008, but after Hamilton took off, it was a whole other level of fame. Now, Miranda has the luxury of picking and choosing what roles he wants to be a part of. “Since the success of Hamilton, my life has been about finding the balance between the things I always wanted to make and the opportunities that are so incredible I’d be angry if they opened and I wasn’t in them,” he told The Guardian in 2018.
“So, Mary Poppins and Little Mermaid definitely fall into that category,” he added. “I think there is always a part of me that is checking in with childhood Lin and asking: ‘Would little Lin be freaking out about this?’ If the answer is yes, then I say yes.”
Do Lin-Manuel Miranda's kids watch 'Hamilton'?
We know what you’re thinking: If you lived with Lin-Manuel Miranda, you’d probably want to soak up his creativity while sitting at home. So, is that what Miranda’s two kids, Sebastian and Francisco, whom he shares with his wife, Vanessa Nadal, do? Well, not exactly.
“They know that daddy is the guy on top of the star and my oldest [Sebastian] has known that for a long time,” he told Access Hollywood in June 2020 about the play’s famous logo. “He saw the show for the first time when I did it in Puerto Rico last year, and he said he was very sad when [Alexander Hamilton] died.” Of course, Miranda made sure to talk to his son about how the play is just “pretend.”
On the other hand, the Broadway star’s youngest son, Francisco, “is a dancer,” so while the movie was playing at home, he “stopped watching” and “started dancing around the room,” Miranda explained. “It was like, ‘Yeah, great daddy that you’re doing that, but I am more interested in dancing to the beat.'”
One thing is for sure — Miranda’s talent is extraordinary, and we can’t wait to see what he does next.
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