Celebrating Lin-Manuel Miranda
By Alicja Paruch
Volume 2 Issue 1
October 8, 2021
Image provided by NBC News
Lin-Manuel Miranda: actor, singer, writer, and composer. Even though he was born in New York, his parents are from Puerto Rico. He is primarily famous for the musicals In the Heights and Hamilton; however, he has accomplished much more.
Born on the 16th of January of 1980, Lin attended school in Manhattan, but he often traveled to Puerto Rico to spend time with his grandparents, which is why he became so close to the Latino culture. In 1998 he started Wesleyan College and majored in theater. After graduating in 2002, he appeared in a few movies, such as “Looking for Maria Sanchez” or “The Polar Bears.” During college, he also started his freestyle hip hop group - Freestyle Love Supreme.
In 2005, Lin published his first musical - In the Heights. It’s a story about the Latino community of Washington Heights trying to improve their lives. In contrast, the business owner tries to achieve his sueñito (little dream) and learn about his true dreams. Lin attempted to convey the realities he observed of the Latino community he grew up within New York while sharing themes of love, family, community, and hope. Besides the stage being filled with Spanish words and phrases and Latino flags, the Latino songs bring everyone closer to the character’s thoughts, struggles, victories, culture, and lives.
After the success of his first musical, he composed 21 Chump Street, a 14-minute musical about high school students and the responsibility they carry, but his previous achievement kept growing, and he eventually won 3 Drama Desk Awards, 4 Tony Awards, a Grammy Award, and 3 Oliver Laurence Awards and gained immense popularity. He then started composing the revolutionary musical Hamilton, and due to his already existing fame, he got to give a preview of it at the White House for President Obama.
After his work with Alex Lacomoire, a pianist and conductor, Paul Tazewell, the costume designer, and Andy Blankenbuehler, the choreographer, in 2015, Lin released the long-awaited musical Hamilton; he was inspired while reading Alexander Hamilton, the biography by Ron Chernow. With a few of his friends from Freestyle Love Supreme and some new cast and crew members, the musical debuted and became an instant hit. Seats were sold out months in advance and cost hundreds of dollars.
However, with all of his even increased fame, he didn’t just take the money and give himself a happy and peaceful life away from people. He did the opposite and became an activist. Notably, he raised funds for the victims of Hurricane Maria and helped actors and Broadway performers after the hit of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Additionally, Lin composed the soundtrack for Disney’s Moana and got to work with famous actors such as Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, and Auli'i Cravalho. He is continuing his work with Disney and is now composing music for the upcoming movie Encanto, a story about a supernatural family’s life in Colombia.
With his many accomplishments and philanthropic actions, Lin-Manuel Miranda should be seen as an example and strive not to be corrupted by fame but help those in need; providing the help so many children like him desperately needed to succeed.