Lin-Manuel Miranda (/
Miranda in 2019
|Born||January 16, 1980|
New York City, U.S.
|Nationality||Puerto Rican, American|
|Alma mater||Wesleyan University|
Vanessa Nadal (m. 2010)
|Relatives||René "Residente" Pérez (cousin)|
Miranda wrote the music and lyrics for the 2008 Broadway musical In the Heights. His work won the Tony Award for Best Original Score, the show's cast album won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, and the show won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Miranda was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his lead role. He gained wider recognition for writing the book, music and lyrics for Hamilton, which has been acclaimed as a pop culture phenomenon since its Broadway premiere in 2015. The show earned the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, and was nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards, of which it won 11, including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book. For portraying the titular role, Miranda was nominated for another Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. The Hamilton cast recording spent ten weeks atop Billboard's Top Rap Albums chart in 2015, while The Hamilton Mixtape, an album of covers of songs from the musical, developed by and featuring Miranda, reached number one on the Billboard 200.
Miranda's television work includes recurring roles on The Electric Company (2009–2010) and Do No Harm (2013). He hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time in 2016 and earned his first Emmy award nomination for acting. Among other film work, Miranda contributed music and vocals for a scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015); wrote music and songs in the animated musical Moana (2016), which gained him nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the Academy Award for Best Original Song, for the song "How Far I'll Go"; and starred as Jack in the musical fantasy Mary Poppins Returns (2018), for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
Miranda has been politically active, most notably on behalf of Puerto Rico. He met with politicians in 2016 to speak out in favor of debt relief for Puerto Rico, and raised funds for rescue efforts and disaster relief after Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017.
Miranda was born in New York City and raised in the neighborhood of Inwood, 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. Miranda has one older sister, Luz, who is the Chief Financial Officer of the MirRam Group. During childhood and his teens, he spent at least one month each year with his grandparents in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. 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. Ensuing branches of the Towns family primarily married Mexican spouses in Texas and Mexico, and Miranda, for his part, has described his ancestry as a quarter Mexican. 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.
As a child, Miranda wrote jingles, including one later used for Eliot Spitzer's 2006 gubernatorial campaign. He attended Hunter College Elementary School and Hunter College High School, where his classmates included journalist Chris Hayes, who was Miranda's first director when the latter starred in a school play described by Hayes as "a 20-minute musical that featured a maniacal fetal pig in a nightmare that [Miranda] had cut up in biology class", and rapper Immortal Technique, who bullied Miranda during high school, although the two later became friends.
As a student at Wesleyan University, Miranda 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 Wesleyan's student theater company, Second Stage, Miranda added freestyle rap and salsa numbers, and the show was premiered there in 1999. Miranda wrote and directed several other musicals at Wesleyan, and acted in many other productions, ranging from musicals to Shakespeare. He graduated from Wesleyan in 2002.
2002–10: In the Heights
In 2002, Miranda and John Buffalo Mailer worked with director Thomas Kail to revise In the Heights. Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes joined the team in 2004. After success off-Broadway, the musical went to Broadway, opening in March 2008. It was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, winning four, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. It also won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. Miranda's performance in the leading role of Usnavi earned him a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Miranda left the cast of the Broadway production on February 15, 2009.
Miranda reprised the role when the national tour of In the Heights played in Los Angeles from June 23 to July 25, 2010. He again joined the tour in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Miranda rejoined the Broadway cast as Usnavi from December 25, 2010 until the production closed on January 9, 2011, after 29 previews and 1,185 regular performances.
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 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story. 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.
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", and in 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, playing occasional roles and singing the theme song to the recurring segment Murray Has a Little Lamb. He was a composer and actor on the 2009 revival of The Electric Company and appeared in the CollegeHumor sketch "Hardly Working: Rap Battle", playing himself working as an intern and rapper.
2011–14: Bring It On and television work
Bring It On
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. The musical began a US national tour on October 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. It then played a limited engagement on Broadway at the St. James Theatre, beginning previews on July 12, 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.
Other theatrical work
Miranda also wrote music and lyrics for the one-act musical 21 Chump Street, and performed as narrator for the show's single performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on June 7, 2014, which was broadcast on National Public Radio's This American Life on June 20, 2014. Later that month, he starred in the June 2014 Encores! revival of Jonathan Larson's Tick, Tick... Boom!, under the artistic direction of Jeanine Tesori. The show was directed by Oliver Butler.
Film and television appearances
He also played several television roles during this period. He appeared on the TV series Modern Family in the 2011 episode "Good Cop Bad Dog". In 2013, he played the recurring role of Ruben Marcado in the NBC drama Do No Harm. He later appeared in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, in an all-verse episode titled "Bedtime Stories" that aired in November 2013.
Hamilton: An American Musical (2015)
While on a vacation in 2008, Miranda read Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton and, inspired by the book, wrote a rap about Hamilton that he performed 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. By 2012, Miranda was performing an extended set of pieces based on the life of Hamilton, which he then referred to as the Hamilton Mixtape; the New York Times called it "an obvious game changer".
Hamilton: An American Musical premiered off-Broadway at The Public Theater in January 2015, directed by Thomas Kail. Miranda wrote the book and score, and starred as the title character. The show received highly positive reviews, and its engagement was sold out. Chernow and Miranda received the 2015 History Makers Award from the New York Historical Society for their work in creating the musical. The show began previews on Broadway in July 2015 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and officially opened on August 6, 2015, earning positive reviews. On the first night of Hamilton previews over 700 people lined up for lottery tickets. The Hamilton ticket lottery evolved into Ham4Ham, a series of outdoor mini-performances for lottery participants that was hosted daily by Miranda and cast members for over a year, until August 31, 2016. Miranda earns a 3% royalty on each performance of Hamilton, earning him $12.7 million by July 2017.
In April 2016, Miranda and Jeremy McCarter published Hamilton: The Revolution, a book describing Hamilton's journey from conception to Broadway success and discussing the cultural revolution that permeates the show.
In May 2016, for his work in the role of Alexander Hamilton, Miranda received the Drama League Distinguished Performance Award. Miranda gave his last performance in Hamilton on July 9, 2016 and vowed to return to the show. Miranda reprised the role of Alexander Hamilton's role for a three-week run in Puerto Rico January 11–27, 2019, for which the engagement was sold out in three hours, November 2018.
A documentary about the creation of the show, Hamilton's America, featuring Miranda, premiered at the New York Film Festival on October 1, 2016 and first aired on PBS' Great Performances series on October 21, 2016.
2015–present: Disney and post-Hamilton work
- Moana – In spring 2014, the studio hired Miranda to help write music for Moana, its 2016 animated feature film. From 2014 to 2016, Miranda collaborated with Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancina on the songs for Moana. He later explained that because he was so busy with Moana and Hamilton, he turned down other projects "that would have distracted" him, but this served as an "ego check" as Hamilton became a hit. Moana opened in November 2016 and was a box office hit, earning positive reviews and praise from critics for Miranda's songwriting. Miranda also sang the song "We Know the Way" in the film, and recorded a duet with Jordan Fisher of the song "You're Welcome", which was played over the film's end credits. For the song "How Far I'll Go", Miranda received Golden Globe, Critics' Choice, Oscar, and Grammy Award nominations.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – While working on Hamilton, Miranda contributed music for the Disney film Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), writing a song for the scene in Maz Kanata's cantina, an homage to the classic Mos Eisley Cantina scene and song.
- DuckTales – Miranda debuted in May 2018 as the voice of Gizmoduck (a.k.a. Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera) in Disney Channel's 2017 reboot of DuckTales.
- Mary Poppins Returns – Miranda plays Jack, a lamplighter and former apprentice to Bert, the chimney sweep played by Dick Van Dyke in the original 1964 film Mary Poppins. This is his first major role after leaving the Broadway cast of Hamilton. Miranda traveled to London in 2017 to film the movie, directed by Rob Marshall, which was released in December 2018.
Theatre and television appearances
On January 24, 2016, Miranda performed the offstage cameo role of Loud Hailer in the Broadway production of Les Misérables, fulfilling his childhood dream of being in the show, as it was the first production he ever saw on Broadway.
On April 24, 2016, on the TV show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, at the end of a segment about the debt crisis in Puerto Rico, Miranda performed an emotional rap about allowing the island to restructure its debt.
Miranda played himself in two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2017.
In August 2016, Miranda agreed to write songs with Alan Menken for Disney's forthcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Miranda will also co-produce the film with Marc Platt. As of 2018[update], no release date has been set, but Menken announced in July 2017 that he and Miranda had begun working on new songs for the project.
Imagine Entertainment announced in July 2018 that Miranda will make his debut as a film director with an adaptation of Jonathan Larson's semi-autobiographical musical Tick, Tick... Boom!, to be scripted by Dear Evan Hansen librettist Steven Levenson. Miranda will also produce the film alongside Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
Miranda married Vanessa Adriana Nadal, a high school friend, in 2010. At the wedding reception, Miranda, along with the wedding party, performed the Fiddler on the Roof song "To Life"; the video has been viewed more than six million times on YouTube. Nadal was a lawyer at the law firm Jones Day. Miranda and Nadal's first son was born in November 2014. On December 3, 2017, Miranda announced he and Nadal were expecting their second child. Their second son was born in February 2018.
Miranda discovered that he is related to artists Residente and ILE of Calle 13 during a 2009 concert by the group in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Miranda was invited to perform. Backstage, the mother of Residente and ILE revealed their connection to Gilberto Concepción de Gracia, founder of the Puerto Rican Independence Party. Miranda and Residente have since confirmed the relationship. In 2017, Miranda performed on the opening track of Residente's self-titled debut album.
After a meeting with President Barack Obama in March 2016, Miranda joined U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, 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 government-debt burden. Miranda was particularly active in the wake of Hurricane Maria's devastation in Puerto Rico, and by December 2017, proceeds from his song "Almost Like Praying" had helped the Hispanic Federation to raise $22 million for rescue efforts and disaster relief.
In order to raise money for Puerto Rico's reconstruction after being struck by hurricanes Irma and María, including at least $15 million to be channeled through the Flamboyán Foundation, Lin-Manuel decided to take, and once again play the protagonist role of, Hamilton to his father's native Puerto Rico. The Miranda family donated approximately $1 million to bring the University of Puerto Rico theater up to par in order to use it as the venue for the musical's performance in January, 2018. After tickets sold out in two days for the three-week run, producers decided to move out of the university venue due to warnings of potential disruptions by a university workers' labor organization, and move the already-installed set to the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center in Santurce, where the performances will run from January 11 through 27th. The production will donate an additional hundreds of thousands of dollars worth in improvements to the Ferré Center.
Awards and achievements
|Playwright, Composer, and Performer Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2015 MacArthur Fellow, MacArthur Foundation|
Among his numerous accolades, Miranda has won a Pulitzer Prize, three Tony Awards, three Grammys, an Emmy, and two Olivier Awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award. In 2015, he was the recipient of a Genius Grant from the MacArthur Fellows Program. In 2016, Time magazine included Miranda 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. It was announced in June 2017 that Miranda would be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018. Miranda received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 30, 2018. In December 2018, he received the Kennedy Center Honors for creating Hamilton.
In 2015, Miranda was the recipient of Smithsonian Magazine's American Ingenuity Award in the History category.
Miranda received an honorary degree in 2009 from Yeshiva University in Washington Heights, Manhattan, becoming the youngest person to receive an honorary degree from that university. Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, presented Miranda with the degree.
He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2015 from his alma mater, Wesleyan University, and gave their commencement address. In May 2016, he received an honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and gave the commencement speech.
|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 – July 15, 2007|
|2008–09||Broadway, February 14, 2008 – February 15, 2009|
|2009||West Side Story||Broadway revival||Spanish translations|
|2010–11||In the Heights||Usnavi||Broadway, December 25, 2010 – January 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|
|2012||Bring It On: The Musical||Broadway & tour||Co-composer and lyricist|
|2014||21 Chump Street||Narrator||Brooklyn Academy of Music, June 7, 2014||Book, music, and lyrics|
|2014||Tick, Tick... Boom!||Jon||Encores!, June 25–28, 2014|
|2015||Hamilton||Alexander Hamilton||Off-Broadway, Jan 20 – May 3, 2015||Book, music, and lyrics|
|2015–16||Broadway, August 6, 2015 – July 9, 2016|
|2016||Les Misérables||Loud Hailer||Broadway, January 24, 2016||Voice only|
|2019||Hamilton||Alexander Hamilton||Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center, Jan 11–27, 2019||Limited engagement; Book, music, and lyrics|
|1996||Clayton's Friends||Pete||Also writer, producer, director and editor|
|2012||The Odd Life of Timothy Green||Reggie|
|2012||The Polar Bears||Jak||Short film|
|2015||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||Shag Kava (voice)||Also special featured composer|
|2016||Studio Heads||Himself||Short film|
|2016||Moana||Composer and singer|
|2017||Speech & Debate||The Genie|
|2018||Mary Poppins Returns||Jack|
|2020||In the Heights||Piragua Guy / Piragüero||Filming; also producer and composer|
|2007||The Sopranos||Bellman||Episode: "Remember When"|
|2009, 2012||Sesame Street||Freddy Flapman / Lamb-Manuel Miranda||2 episodes; also composer and lyricist|
|2009–2010||House||Juan "Alvie" Alvarez||2 episodes|
|2009-2010||The Electric Company||Mario/himself||17 episodes; also composer|
|2011||Modern Family||Guillermo||Episode: "Good Cop Bad Dog"|
|2011||65th Tony Awards||Awards show; writer of the closing rap number|
|2012||Submissions Only||Auditioner #1||Episode: "Another Interruption"|
|2012||Freestyle Love Supreme||Himself||TV series; also lyricist|
|2013||Do No Harm||Ruben Marcado||11 episodes|
|2013||Smash||Himself||Episode: "The Transfer"|
|2013||67th Tony Awards||Awards show; composer of the opening number "Bigger!"|
|2013||How I Met Your Mother||Gus||Episode: "Bedtime Stories"|
|2016||Inside Amy Schumer||Himself||Episode: "The World's Most Interesting Woman in the World"|
|2016||Last Week Tonight with John Oliver||Himself||Episode: "Puerto Rico"|
|2016||Hamilton's America||Himself||Television documentary|
|2016||Difficult People||Himself||Episode: "Carter"|
|2016||Saturday Night Live||Himself (host)||Episode: "Lin-Manuel Miranda/Twenty One Pilots"|
|2016||Drunk History||Himself||Episode: "Hamilton"|
|2017||My Brother, My Brother and Me||Himself||Episode: "Candlenights & Vape Ape"|
|2017||BoJack Horseman||Crackerjack Sugarman||Voice|
Episode: "The Old Sugarman House"
|2017–2018||The Magic School Bus Rides Again||Theme song singer|
|2017||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Himself||2 episodes|
|2018||Nina's World||Paquito Fernando||Voice|
Episode: "Nina Live"
|2019||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Lieutenant David Santiago||Episode: "The Golden Child"|
|2019||Fosse/Verdon||Roy Scheider||Episode: "Providence"; also executive producer|
|2019||His Dark Materials||Lee Scoresby||Post-production|
- Hamilton: The Revolution (2016) with Jeremy McCarter
- Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You (2018) with Jonny Sun
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Notes|
|US||US Cast Albums||US OST||US Rap||US R&B/HH||AUS||BEL Flanders||BEL Wallonia||CAN||IRE||NZ||UK||UK OST|
|In the Heights (Original Broadway Cast Recording)||82||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||
|Merrily We Roll Along: 2012 New York Cast Recording||—||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||
|Bring It On: The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording)||—||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||
|21 Chump Street: The Musical - EP||
|Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)||3||1||—||1||—||42||181||—||—||52||—||58||2||
|Moana: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||2||—||1||—||—||8||49||48||4||9||1||7||1||
|The Hamilton Mixtape||1||—||—||—||1||26||114||—||9||—||29||—||—||
|The Hamilton Instrumentals||[A]||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||
|Mary Poppins Returns (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)||34||—||5||—||—||15||85||79||73||—||—||—||—||
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US||US Latin||US Latin Digital|
(with John Williams)
|2015||—||—||—||Star Wars: The Force Awakens|
|"Love Make the World Go Round"
(with Jennifer Lopez)
|"What the World Needs Now Is Love"
(with Broadway for Orlando)
|"Crucible Cast Party"
(with the Cast of Saturday Night Live)
|"We Know the Way"
(with Opetaia Foa'i)
|"You're Welcome (Jordan Fisher Version)"
(with Jordan Fisher)
|"Wrote My Way Out"
(with Nas, Dave East, & Aloe Blacc)
|—||—||—||The Hamilton Mixtape|
|"Almost Like Praying"
(with Artists for Puerto Rico)
(with Ben Platt)
|"A Forgotten Spot"
(with Zion & Lennox, De La Ghetto, Ivy Queen, PJ Sin Suela, & Lucecita Benitez)
(with Utkarsh Ambudkar & Dante Basco)
|"Cheering For Me Now"
(with John Kander)
|"Trip a Little Light Fantastic"
(with the cast of Mary Poppins Returns)
|—||—||—||Mary Poppins Returns|
- 2013: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
- 2016: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, & Mariska Hargitay
- 2016: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
- 2018: Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda
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Then and now the family lived in the Inwood neighborhood, just up from Washington Heights
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The composer of 'In the Heights' grew up not in Washington Heights but thirty blocks farther uptown, across from Inwood Hill Park...
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It's true! The 1/4 Mexican part, not the Sondheim part.
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Gmorning. The story of my name, w a dedication from Jose Manuel Torres Santiago, the poet who inspired it.
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: Mm hmm, Lin-Manuel Miranda. And he wrote a lot of the music on 'The Electric Company.'
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