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Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known for being the mastermind behind the Broadway musical Hamilton, having written the music and lyrics, and starred in the title role in the off-Broadway and Broadway run. He’s one of few people who have achieved a level of fame outside of the theatre community thanks to their theatre work. In fact, Hamilton has redefined the level of fame that a musical can achieve by becoming part of popular culture. That said, he has done all sort of things before writing Hamilton, including appearing in several TV shows, working on several theatre’s shows on and off Broadway, and winning an Emmy for the opening number he wrote for the Tony Awards in 2013.
He’s got a long list of credits, but the reason why he’s our spotlight artist is because he’s a Nice Guy™. He answers fan-mail with lovely handwritten notes, he’s a prime example of an over-sharer on Twitter, he does a weekly mix on Spotify, and he works hard and is not afraid to show it. In the last two years, he has risen in fame but he has kept his head down and continued working, using his new platform to do good such as helping raise 14 million dollars for Puerto Rico after the island was damaged by hurricane Maria. To do so he pressed pause on all of his creative projects, wrote a song about Puerto Rico while in Austria with his family, then called up all the famous Puerto Rican people you can think of and flew across America to get the vocals. He made a playlist with all the artists on Spotify, then dropped the song and at the same time released a music video, keeping his Twitter feed up to speed with all of this. All in two weeks.
When asked about the key to his success he points out to three fundamental aspects: his family, his collaborators, and deadlines. His family is what keeps him grounded, especially is two-year-old son Sebastian, named after the crab in The Little Mermaid, who doesn’t really care how famous his dad gets. Great credit also goes to his wife, Vanessa Miranda Nadal, who’s got a double degree in chemical engineering and law, making Sebastian Miranda undoubtedly the smartest toddler around. His collaborators are all friends he made growing up, and who love and respect each other enough to work together and judge each other work without any hard feeling. Some of these guys are Tommy Kail, director of In the Heights, Miranda’s first musical, and Hamilton, who Lin met at Wesleyan University, and Alex Lacamoire, music director of In the Heights and Hamilton. Lastly, a deadline is what keeps Miranda working. He’s a believer in the idea that creation needs constraint, has proven by the fact that Hamilton took six years to write and Lin has repeatedly stated that, if Tommy Kail had not taken on the project and started giving him deadlines, it might still be in the making.
All in all, Lin is a joy to follow as a personality on Twitter, and his work is all of stellar quality, as proven by the praise and awards he’s been collecting in the last years.
BEST KNOWN FOR: Hamilton: an American Musical, playing at the Victoria Palace in London from the 6th of December;
HOT RIGHT NOW: Almost Like Praying, benefit song for Puerto Rico;
COMING UP: Mary Poppins Returns, 21st December 2018.
FOR HARDCORE FANS: Stephen Sondheim, Theater’s Greatest Lyricist, Lin’s interview to Sondheim in The New York Times, October 16, 2017.