Lin Manuel-Miranda is Much More Than a Broadway Star

Olivia Shackleton, Editor-in-Chief

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is quickly becoming a household name as he expands his work from Broadway musicals to more accessible content, such as movies like “Moana” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” Miranda has demonstrated his vast range of talents by working on various projects that require physical, mental and emotional fortitude.

Miranda first gained major attention through his show “In the Heights,” which focuses on Hispanic Americans and their experiences living in Washington Heights, New York. Miranda’s show received four Tony awards: Best Musical, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations and Best Original Score. This was only the beginning for Miranda’s fame, as in July 2015 his musical “Hamilton” opened on Broadway.

“Hamilton,” which can be cited as Miranda’s most famous work, is a historical musical. Its name explains what the show is about — Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers. Winning 11 Tony awards, including Best Musical and Best Score, “Hamilton” was one Tony away from tying with “The Producers” for the show that received the most Tony awards ever. And the show deserves every award and accolade it received.

I first learned about this wonderful show during my senior year of high school, when all of my theatre friends began listening to the soundtrack and raving about it. I vividly remember sitting in my living room listening to the opening number and turning it off before it even finished because I thought it was horrible. Rap has no place in musicals, I thought. After weeks of my friends’ non-stop (no pun intended) chatter about the musical, I gave it another chance and I was hooked. For almost a year straight, I would not shut up about the lyrical genius displayed in the show; the incredible character development shown throughout by Hamilton, Burr, Eliza and Angelica; the emotional and heart wrenching moments presented. I could do a full analysis of this show because it is so beautifully created. Lin thought through every single aspect of the show and pulled it all together into one, cohesive and entertaining piece of art.

Although I could write for days on end about “Hamilton” and the perfection that is that musical, Lin is so much more than just that piece of work. Sure, it will most likely be his legacy, but he is also incredible in many other ways. One is his never-ending generosity. He knows how deeply connected his fans are to “Hamilton” and how expensive tickets are to see the show. While the original broadway cast of “Hamilton” was still performing, on almost every Wednesday and Saturday members of the cast, including Lin himself, would stand outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre where “Hamilton” runs and give some type of extra performance. Even if people couldn’t afford to see the show, they could walk past and be entertained by the cast — sometimes even by other special guests, such as Lea Michele, Aaron Tveit and Patti LuPone. If you are a theatre fan, you completely understand how flipping incredible these guests are. Even better, every show people have the chance to enter a lottery contest where front-row seating is raffled off for $10. Both of these were unnecessary, but Lin wanted to do them for his fans.

Another special thing Lin has done for his fans is release a monthly “Hamildrop,” which is an extra “Hamilton”-related video, song, etc. These keep fans engaged, even when they aren’t able to  see the show on stage. There have been several “Hamildrops” that have blown me away: “Found/Tonight” by Ben Platt and Miranda as well as “Cheering For Me Now” by John Kanter and Miranda.

Lin always is super active and engaged with his fans on Twitter. He is diligent about tweeting out a daily good morning and good night tweet that offers encouragement or gives his followers a good laugh. Some of my favorite good morning tweets: “Gmorning. Pain, joy, euphoria, everything. It all passes. It all keeps moving. Wherever you are is temporary. Let’s go!” and “Good day, future legend! Today’s struggle, tomorrow’s strife — all essential components of your origin story. You, forged for greatness. Go!”

Finally, the biggest point I wanted to touch on is his advocacy and support for Puerto Rico. Currently, Lin is reprising his role as Alexander Hamilton in Puerto Rico. After the massive hurricane that hit the territory over a year ago, Puerto Ricans have been trying to re-establish their lives and businesses. Lin, who is of Puerto Rican descent, decided to do 23 shows on the island to promote a flow of commerce and stimulate the economy.

In addition to all these accomplishments and philanthropic deeds, Lin inspires me to be the best version of myself. He makes me want to dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams. He teaches me to embrace all of my quirky, theatre-loving personality just as he does. Also, we share a strikingly similar love for Jonathan Groff.

I know that Lin has touched the hearts of many worldwide. His music, words, warm smile and dorky personality have changed my life. I know when I need a burst of happiness, I can blast “Hamilton” or watch a video of Lin being himself and it will completely lift my spirits. It is so difficult to explain how incredible an individual Lin is, and how a person I’ve never met before has had such a profound impact on my life.