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Lin-Manuel Miranda (born January 16, 1980) is an American actor, playwright, composer, and rapper best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. In addition to theatre work, Miranda was heavily involved with Disney's Moana soundtrack and will star in their upcoming film Mary Poppins Returns. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, two Grammys, an Emmy, a MacArthur Fellowship, and three Tony Awards, among others.

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda.jpg
Miranda in Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's Office, March 2016
Born (1980-01-16) January 16, 1980 (age 37)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Hunter College High School
Alma mater Wesleyan University
  • Actor, composer
Years active 1999–present
Spouse(s) Vanessa Nadal (m. 2010)
Children 1
Awards Pulitzer Prize
Grammy Award
Emmy Award
Tony Award
MacArthur Fellowship

Miranda wrote the music and lyrics for the musical In the Heights, which opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in March 2008. Miranda's written work for the show earned him numerous accolades, including the 2008 Tony Award for Best Original Score[1] and the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.[2] Miranda's performance in the show's lead role of Usnavi also earned him a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, and the show won Best Musical.

Miranda also wrote the book, music, and lyrics for Hamilton, his second major Broadway musical, which was inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow. The show earned the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, and was nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards, of which it won 11—including Best Musical. For his performance in the lead role of Alexander Hamilton in the show, Miranda received the 2016 Drama League Distinguished Performance Award as well as his second Tony performance nomination. Miranda also won the Tony Award for Best Original Score and Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Hamilton. The Hamilton cast recording spent ten weeks atop Billboard's Top Rap Albums chart in 2015, while The Hamilton Mixtape, an album of covers from the musical developed by and featuring Miranda, reached number one on the Billboard 200 upon release in December 2016.


Early life

Miranda was born in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, the son of Luz Towns, a clinical psychologist, and Luis A. Miranda, Jr., a Democratic Party consultant who advised New York City mayor Ed Koch.[3][4][5] Miranda has one older sister, Luz, who is the CFO of the MirRam Group.[6] He grew up in the Latino neighborhood of Inwood, but would spend a month every year in his grandparents' home town, Vega Alta, in Puerto Rico.[7][8] He is of mostly Puerto Rican descent. His mother's ancestors include an interracial couple, Sophie, who was black, and David Towns, who was white; from the early 1800s, this couple spent their married life trying to outrun slavery as laws and governments changed around them.[9][10] The name "Lin-Manuel" was inspired by a poem about the Vietnam War, Nana Roja Para Mi Hijo Lin Manuel, by the Puerto Rican writer José Manuel Torres Santiago.[11][12]

Growing up, Lin helped create jingles, including one used for Eliot Spitzer's 2006 campaign. After graduating from Hunter College Elementary School and Hunter College High School,[13] Miranda went on to attend Wesleyan University,[8][14] graduating in 2002. During his time there, he co-founded a hip hop comedy troupe called Freestyle Love Supreme. He wrote the earliest draft of In the Heights in 1999, his sophomore year of college. After the show was accepted by Second Stage, Wesleyan's student theater company, Miranda worked on adding "freestyle rap... and salsa numbers."[8] It played from April 20 to 22, 1999. He wrote and directed several other musicals at Wesleyan. He also acted in many other productions, ranging from musicals to Shakespeare. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Wesleyan University in 2015.[15]


2002–10: In the Heights

In 2002, Miranda and John Buffalo Mailer worked with director Thomas Kail and wrote five successive drafts of In the Heights, which Miranda had begun to write in his time at Wesleyan.[8][3] After success off-Broadway, the musical went to Broadway in 2008.[8] It won the Tony Award for Best Musical and for Best Original Score and the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.[1][2] Miranda's performance earned him a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Miranda made his last performance in the Broadway show on February 15, 2009.[16]

Miranda reprised his role of Usnavi when the national tour of In the Heights played in Los Angeles from June 23 to July 25, 2010.[17][18] The tour continued without him at the helm until it played in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he again played Usnavi.[19] The Broadway production played its final performance on January 9, 2011, after 29 previews and 1,185 regular performances. Miranda reprised the role of Usnavi from December 25, 2010 until the closing of the production.[20]

Lin-Manuel Miranda performs "The Hamilton Mixtape" at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word on May 12, 2009

Miranda created other work for the stage during this period. He wrote Spanish language dialogue and worked with Stephen Sondheim to translate into Spanish song lyrics for the revival of West Side Story, which opened on Broadway in March 2009.[21][22] In 2008, he was invited by composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz to contribute two new songs to a revised version of Schwartz and Nina Faso's 1978 musical Working, which opened in May 2008 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida.[23]

In addition to his work for the stage, Miranda also did work for film and television; in 2007, he made a guest appearance on the television series The Sopranos in the episode "Remember When",[24] and in September 2009, he played Alvie, Gregory House's roommate in a psychiatric hospital, in the two-hour season six premiere episode of House; he returned to the role in May 2010. He also has done work for Sesame Street, where he has played occasional roles and sings the theme song to Murray Has a Little Lamb.[25] He is also a composer and actor on the 2009 revival of The Electric Company. Miranda also appeared in the CollegeHumor sketch "Hardly Working: Rap Battle", playing himself working as an intern and rapper.[26]

Miranda also worked as an English teacher at his former high school, wrote for the Manhattan Times as a columnist and restaurant reviewer, and composed music for commercials.[27]

2011–14: Bring It On and television work

Miranda co-wrote the music and lyrics for Bring It On: The Musical with Tom Kitt and Amanda Green. Bring It On premiered at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia in January 2011.[28] The cast included Amanda LaVergne as Campbell, Adrienne Warren as Danielle, Nick Blaemire as Randall, Ryann Redmond as Bridget, and "award-winning competitive cheerleaders from across the country".[29] The musical opened on October 30, 2011 at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, California, at the start of a US National tour.[30][31] After its national tour, the show played a limited engagement on Broadway at the St. James Theatre, beginning previews on July 12, 2012, and officially opening on August 1, 2012. It closed on December 30, 2012. It was nominated for Tony Awards in the categories of Best Musical and Best Choreography.[32]

In 2011, Miranda appeared as a guest on the TV series Modern Family in the episode "Good Cop Bad Dog".[33] He appeared as Charley in an Encores! staged concert of Merrily We Roll Along at the New York City Center in February 2012. Later that year, he appeared in a small role in The Odd Life of Timothy Green as Reggie[citation needed] and played a recurring role on the 2013 NBC drama Do No Harm.[34]

In 2013, Miranda appeared in the episode "Bedtime Stories" (Season 9, Episode 11) on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.[35] In the winter of 2013, Miranda interviewed with Walt Disney Animation Studios and submitted a six-song demo package; in spring 2014, the studio formally hired him to help write the songs for its 56th feature-length animated film, Moana.[36][37] In 2014, he performed with The Skivvies, an indie-rock comedy duo consisting of Nick Cearley and Lauren Molina,[38] and participated in the live show of This American Life held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on June 7, 2014. For that show, Miranda wrote the music and lyrics for 21 Chump Street: The Musical, a production based on an earlier piece of journalism from TAL by reporter Robbie Brown.[39] Also in 2014, Miranda appeared in the revival of Tick, Tick... Boom! as part of the Encores! Off-Center series under the artistic direction of Jeanine Tesori. The show was directed by Oliver Butler.[40]

2015–16: Hamilton

Miranda in Hamilton, 2016

In July 2008, Miranda read Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton on vacation and, inspired by the book, wrote a rap about Hamilton for the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word on May 12, 2009, accompanied by Alex Lacamoire. Miranda later said he spent a year writing the Hamilton song "My Shot", revising it countless times for every verse to reflect Alexander Hamilton's intellect.[41][42] By 2012, Miranda was performing an extended set of pieces based on the life of Hamilton, referred to as the Hamilton Mixtape; the New York Times called it "an obvious game changer".[43] In 2015, Chernow and Miranda received the 2015 History Makers Award by the New York Historical Society for their work in creating Hamilton.[44]

Hamilton, a musical based on the Hamilton Mixtape, premiered Off-Broadway at The Public Theater in January 2015, directed by Thomas Kail. Miranda wrote the book and score and stars as the title character.[45][46] The show received highly positive reviews,[47] and its engagement was sold out.[48] It began previews on Broadway in July 2015 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and officially opened on August 6, 2015,[49] earning rave reviews.[50] On the first night of Hamilton previews over 700 people lined up for lottery tickets.[51]

Miranda contributed music for the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the invitation of director J. J. Abrams, specifically writing a song for the scene in Maz Kanata's Cantina, an homage to the classic Mos Eisley Cantina scene and song after Star Wars composer John Williams declined to write a new cantina song, wishing to instead focus on the film's orchestral score.

On January 24, 2016, Miranda performed the role of Loud Hailer in the Broadway production of Les Misérables,[52] fulfilling his childhood dream of being in the show, as it was the first production he ever saw on Broadway.[53]

Miranda performs freestyle rap with President Barack Obama

On March 15, 2016, a portion of the cast of Hamilton performed at the White House and hosted workshops, and in the Rose Garden afterwards Miranda performed freestyle rap from prompts held up by President Obama.[54] In April 2016, Miranda and Jeremy McCarter's book, Hamilton: The Revolution, was released; it is 285 pages long and details Hamilton's journey from an idea to a successful Broadway musical. It includes an inside look at not only Hamilton's revolution, but the cultural revolution that permeates the show. It also has footnotes from Miranda and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the show.[55]

On April 24, 2016, Miranda performed on the show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in the tenth episode of its third season.[56] The segment explained the debt crisis in Puerto Rico and, at the end, featured Miranda performing an emotional rap about allowing the island to restructure its debt.[56] On May 16, 2016, he was given an honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and also gave the commencement speech.[57] On May 20, 2016, for his work in the role of Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton, Miranda received the Drama League Distinguished Performance Award—an honor that a performer can only receive once during his or her career.

Miranda played his last performance in Hamilton on July 9, 2016, and the role of Alexander Hamilton was taken over by previous alternate Javier Muñoz.[58] Miranda vowed to return to the show in the near future.[59]

2016–present: Disney collaborations and film work

While writing, developing, and then starring in Hamilton during 2014, 2015, and 2016, Miranda was also simultaneously collaborating with Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancina to write the music for Disney Animation's Moana. He later explained that because he was so busy with those two projects, he ended up having "to say no to a lot of stuff that would have distracted" him, but that in turn served as an "ego check" as Hamilton became a hit.[36] The Moana soundtrack combines traditional South Pacific culture with elements of pop and Broadway.[60] Miranda personally recorded the English-language lyrics of the song "We Know the Way", which is played within the film itself. He also recorded a duet version with Jordan Fisher of the song "You're Welcome", which is played over the film's end credits.[61] Moana opened to positive reviews in November 2016 and was a box office hit. Miranda's songwriting work was critically acclaimed and he received Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award, and Academy Award nominations for the song "How Far I'll Go".

Miranda is to star in the Mary Poppins sequel Mary Poppins Returns, directed by Rob Marshall.[62] It was reported in August 2016 that Miranda will also serve as producer and co-composer (with Alan Menken) for Disney's upcoming The Little Mermaid live-action remake film. The movie will reportedly have a mix of the original film's songs, and new songs as well.[63] However, in February 2017, Miranda told The New York Times that "We haven't formalized anything...I'm invested emotionally but not attached" to the project.[36] It was confirmed in late November 2016 that Miranda will serve as creative producer on Lionsgate's film adaptation of The Kingkiller Chronicle, along with a tie-in television series.[64] Miranda will also be producing eleven songs for the upcoming Sony Pictures Animation film, Vivo, which will be directed by Kirk DeMicco.[65]

Personal life

Miranda married Vanessa Adriana Nadal, a high school friend, in 2010.[66] At the wedding reception, Miranda, along with the bridal party, presented a group rendition of the Fiddler on the Roof song "To Life".[67] The video was posted on YouTube, where it has been viewed more than five million times.[68] Nadal is a litigation associate at the global law firm Jones Day.[69]

In May 2, 2009, Miranda discovered he is related to Residente and ILE of Calle 13 during a concert held by the group in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Miranda was invited to perform. Backstage, Flor Joglar de Gracia, mother of Residente and ILE, revealed their connection to Gilberto Concepción de Gracia, founder of the Puerto Rican Independence Party.[70][71][72][73] Miranda and Residente have since confirmed their relation through social media.[74][75][76][77] In 2017, Miranda guest performed on the opening track of Residente's self-titled debut album.[78]

Miranda received an honorary degree from Yeshiva University, along with his lifelong friend Johannah Ward, during its May 14, 2009 graduation ceremony. He is the youngest person to receive an honorary degree from Yeshiva University.[79] In the Heights is based in the Upper Manhattan community of Washington Heights, also home to Yeshiva's campus. Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, presented Miranda with the degree and remarked about first meeting him when Miranda was seven years old.[citation needed]

External video
  Playwright, Composer, and Performer Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2015 MacArthur Fellow, MacArthur Foundation[80]

Miranda and Nadal's son Sebastian was born on November 10, 2014.

According to an interview with Maximum Fun podcast Can I Pet Your Dog?, Miranda has a dog named "Tobillo" (or "Tobi" for short) from the Dominican Republic.[81][82]

In 2015, Miranda was honored as a recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Award, a prize awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation typically to between 20 and 30 individuals, working in any field, who have shown "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction" and are citizens or residents of the United States.[83] In May of that year, he also received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Wesleyan.[84]

In March 2016, a day after a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama,[85] Miranda joined New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic lawmakers to call for congressional action to back a Senate bill in Washington that would allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy and significantly ease its $70 billion debt burden.[86]

Miranda is a noted fan of My Brother, My Brother and Me on the Maximum Fun podcast network. He has appeared on the podcast as a "guestpert",[87] and has worked references to the podcast into the Hamilton score.[88] Miranda has written lyrics to a version of the song "Fugue for Tinhorns" from the musical Guys and Dolls called "Fugue for Brotherhorns" for the hosts, Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy, which they performed in an episode of the podcast.[87] Miranda has also been known to work references to the podcast into public appearances, including during his appearances on The Grammy Awards[89] and Saturday Night Live.[90] He is also known to be a fan of the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast on the Earwolf podcast network, and has made a couple of appearances on the podcast by telephone on the "Solo Bolo" episodes featuring Ben Schwartz.[91]

He is also a huge fan of the TV drama The West Wing, rapping a tribute to the show on January 16, 2017.[92]

Theatre credits

Year Title Role Details Notes
1999 In the Heights Usnavi Wesleyan University, April 20–22 Also composer and lyricist
2005 Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
2007 Off-Broadway, Feb. 8 – Jul. 15, 2007
2008–09 Broadway, Feb. 14, 2008 – Feb. 15, 2009
2009–10 US tour
2009 West Side Story Broadway revival Spanish translations
2010–11 In the Heights Usnavi Broadway, Dec. 25, 2010 – Jan. 9, 2011 Also composer and lyricist
2011 Working Chicago revival Wrote two new songs
2012 Merrily We Roll Along Charley Encores!, Feb. 8–9, 2012
Bring It On the Musical Broadway & tour Co-composer and lyricist
2014 21 Chump Street Narrator Brooklyn Academy of Music, June 7, 2014 Also playwright, composer, & lyricist
Tick, Tick... Boom! Jon Encores!, June 25–28, 2014
2015 Hamilton Alexander Hamilton Off-Broadway, Jan. 20 – May 3, 2015 Also playwright, composer, & lyricist
2015–16 Broadway, Aug. 6, 2015 – Jul. 9, 2016
2016 Les Misérables Loud Hailer Broadway, January 24, 2016[93] Voice only



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Clayton's Friends Pete Also writer, producer, director, editor
2012 The Odd Life of Timothy Green Reggie
The Polar Bears Jak Short
2013 200 Cartas Raul
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Shag Kava (voice) Also special featured composer
2016 Studio Heads Lin-Manuel Miranda Short
Moana Composer/singer
2017 Speech & Debate The Genie
2018 Mary Poppins Returns Jack Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2007 The Sopranos Bellman Episode: "Remember When"
2009–2012 Sesame Street Freddy Flapman/Lamb-Manuel Miranda 2 episodes; also composer/lyricist
2009–10 House Juan "Alvie" Alvarez 2 episodes
The Electric Company Mario/himself 17 episodes; also composer
2011 Modern Family Guillermo Episode: "Good Cop Bad Dog"
65th Tony Awards Awards show; writer of the closing rap number
2012 Submissions Only Auditioner #1 Episode: "Another Interruption"
Freestyle Love Supreme Lin-Manuel Miranda TV series; also lyricist
2013 Do No Harm Ruben Marcado 11 episodes
Smash Himself Episode: "The Transfer"
67th Tony Awards Awards show; composer of the opening number "Bigger!"
How I Met Your Mother Gus Episode: "Bedtime Stories"
2016 Inside Amy Schumer Himself Episode: "The World's Most Interesting Woman in the World"
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Himself Episode: "Puerto Rico"
Difficult People Himself Episode: "Carter"
Saturday Night Live Himself (host) Episode: "Lin-Manuel Miranda/Twenty One Pilots"
Drunk History Himself Episode: "Hamilton"
2017 My Brother, My Brother and Me Himself Episode: "Candlenights & Vape Ape"
DuckTales Gizmoduck/Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera Voiceover role



  • Hamilton: The Revolution (2016) with Jeremy McCarter


  • "Stop the Bots From Killing Broadway," The New York Times (2016)[94]
  • "Give Puerto Rico Its Chance to Thrive," The New York Times (2016)[95]


Original cast recordings

Year Title Notes
2008 In the Heights
  • Winner of the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album
2014 21 Chump Street
2015 Hamilton
  • Also producer of album
  • Peaked at #1 US Top Cast Albums, #1 US Top Rap Albums, #1 on US Top Albums
  • Certified triple platinum
  • Winner of the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album



Awards and achievements

Among his numerous accolades, Miranda has won a Pulitzer Prize, three Tony Awards, two Grammys, an Emmy, and has been nominated for an Academy Award. He additionally was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2015. In 2016, Time magazine included him in its annual Time 100 as one of the "Most Influential People in the World" and he received a star on the Puerto Rico Walk of Fame.[97][98]

See also


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  2. ^ a b "2009 Grammy Awards – Complete Winners and Nominees". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  3. ^ a b MacGregor, Jeff. "Meet Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Genius behind "Hamilton," Broadway's Newest Hit". Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  4. ^ Rosman, Katherine (2016-06-16). "Behind the Scenes With Lin-Manuel Miranda and Family on Tonys Night". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-12-25. 
  5. ^ Smith, David (2016-07-01). "Lin-Manuel Miranda's ancestry is as multifaceted as Hamilton". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-12-25. 
  6. ^ Mead, Rebecca (2015-02-09). "All About the Hamiltons". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2016-12-25. 
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth (24 November 2010). "Lin-Manuel Miranda Takes In the Heights to Puerto Rico". Playbill. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Lin-Manuel Miranda: Scaling the Heights". Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  9. ^ Smith, David (2016-07-01). "Lin-Manuel Miranda's ancestry is as multifaceted as Hamilton". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-12-25. 
  10. ^ Smolenyak, Megan. "Lin-Manuel Miranda's Revolutionary Ancestors". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  11. ^ Mead, Rebecca (9 February 2015). "All About the Hamiltons". Retrieved 13 June 2016 – via The New Yorker. 
  12. ^ "Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter". Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
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  17. ^ Ng, David. Lin-Manuel Miranda returning to 'In the Heights' at Pantages Theater, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2010.
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  33. ^ "Listings". – The Web's Best Television Resource. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
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  86. ^ Macht, Daniel. "'Hamilton's' Lin-Manuel Miranda Calls for Action on Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis". NBC New York. 
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  89. ^ "Did Lin-Manuel Miranda Sneak a Reference to His Favorite Podcast into the Hamilton Grammy Performance?". 16 February 2016. 
  90. ^ Right, Something Incredibly. "Something Incredibly Right - Lin-Manuel doing #GreatJob horn on SNL. FOUR...". 
  91. ^ "Hear Lin-Manuel Miranda do a drunk freestyle rap on Comedy Bang! Bang!". Entertainment Weekly. 
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  93. ^ Digital Ham4Ham 1.27.16 – You at the Barricade Listen to This. Hamilton the Musical. January 27, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2016 – via YouTube. 
  94. ^ Stop the Bots From Killing Broadway, The New York Times June 16, 2016
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  96. ^ "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe". Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  97. ^ "Time 100: Lin-Manuel Miranda". Time. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  98. ^ Flores, Griselda (July 18, 2016). "Lin-Manuel Miranda to Receive Star on Puerto Rico's Walk of Fame". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 

External links