Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Born (1980-01-16) January 16, 1980
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Hunter College High School
Alma mater Wesleyan University
  • Actor
  • composer
  • rapper
  • writer
Years active 1999–present
Spouse(s) Vanessa Adriana Nadal
Children 1
Awards Pulitzer Prize
Grammy Award
Emmy Award
Tony Award
MacArthur Fellowship

Lin-Manuel Miranda (born January 16, 1980) is an American actor, playwright, composer, rapper, and writer, best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, two Grammys, an Emmy, a MacArthur "Genius" Award, and three Tony awards, among others.

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.

Early life

Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican descent, was born in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, and grew up in the adjacent Latino neighborhood of Inwood, but would spend a month every year in his grandparents' home town Vega Alta in Puerto Rico.[3][4] His mother's side of the family tree includes an interracial couple, David and Sophie Towns, who, from the early 1800s, spent their entire married life trying to outrun slavery as laws and governments changed around them.[5][6] His father is a former political advisor who advised New York City mayor Ed Koch, and his mother is a clinical psychologist.[7] Growing up, Lin helped create jingles, including one used for Eliot Spitzer's 2006 campaign. 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.[8][9]

After graduating from Hunter College Elementary School[10] and Hunter College High School, Miranda went on to attend Wesleyan University,[4][11] 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."[4] It played from April 20–22, 1999. He wrote and directed several other musicals at Wesleyan. He also acted in many other productions, ranging from musicals to Shakespeare.


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 he had begun to write in his time at Wesleyan.[4][7] After success off-Broadway, the musical went to Broadway in 2008.[4] It won the Tony Award for Best Musical and for Best Original Score[1] and the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.[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.[12]

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.[13][14] The tour continued without him at the helm until it played in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he played Usnavi.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17][18] 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.[19]

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,",[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24] 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".[25] The musical opened on October 30, 2011 at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, California at the start of a US National tour.[26][27] 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.[28]

In 2011, Miranda appeared as a guest on the TV series Modern Family in the episode "Good Cop Bad Dog".[29] 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 and played a recurring role on the 2013 NBC drama Do No Harm.[30]

In 2013, Miranda appeared in the episode "Bedtime Stories" (Season 9, Episode 11) on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.[31] In 2014, he performed with The Skivvies, an indie-rock comedy duo consisting of Nick Cearley and Lauren Molina[32] 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.[33] 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.[34]

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.[35][36] 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".[37] In 2015, Chernow and Miranda received the 2015 History Makers Award by the New York Historical Society for their work in creating Hamilton.[38]

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.[39][40] The show received highly positive reviews,[41] and its engagement was sold out.[42] It began previews on Broadway in July 2015 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and officially opened on August 6, 2015,[43] earning rave reviews.[44] On the first night of Hamilton previews over 700 people lined up for lottery tickets.[45]

Miranda was hired to write songs for Walt Disney Animation Studios' 56th feature, Moana, which was released in 2016.[46] Miranda also 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 legendary 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,[47] fulfilling his childhood dream of being in the show, as it was the first production he ever saw on Broadway.[48]

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.[49] 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 scene glimpses of the show.[50]

On April 24, 2016, Miranda performed on the show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, in the tenth episode of its third season.[51] The segment explained the debt crisis in Puerto Rico and, at the end, featured Miranda perform an emotional rap about allowing the island to restructure its debt.[51] On May 16, 2016, he was given an honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and also gave the commencement speech.[52] 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.[53] Miranda also vowed to return to the show in the near future.[54]

2016–present: Post-Hamilton

Miranda is to star in the Mary Poppins sequel Mary Poppins Returns, directed by Rob Marshall.[55] He 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.[56] It was confirmed in late November of 2016 that Miranda will serve as creative producer on Lionsgate's film adaptation of The Kingkiller Chronicle, along with a tie-in television series.[57]

Personal life

Miranda married Vanessa Adriana Nadal, a high school friend, in 2010.[58] At the wedding reception, Miranda, along with the bridal party, presented a group rendition of the Fiddler on the Roof song "To Life".[59] The video was posted on YouTube, where it has been viewed more than five million times.[60] Nadal is a litigation associate at the global law firm Jones Day.[61]

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.[62][63][64][65] Miranda and Residente have since confirmed their relation through social media.[66][67][68][69]

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.[70] 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.

External video
Playwright, Composer, and Performer Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2015 MacArthur Fellow, MacArthur Foundation[71]

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.[72][73]

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.[74] In May of that year, he also received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Wesleyan.[75]

In March 2016, a day after a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama,[76] 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.[77]

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",[78] and has worked references to the podcast into the Hamilton score.[79] Miranda has written lyrics to a version of the song "Fugure 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.[78] Miranda has also been known to work references to the podcast into public appearances, including during his appearances on The Grammy Awards[80] and Saturday Night Live.[81] 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.[82]

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[83] 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 Post-production


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 3 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"





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 platinum
  • Winner of the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album



Awards and achievements

As of 2016, Miranda has won one Pulitzer Prize, two Grammys, an Emmy, a MacArthur "Genius" Award, three Tony Awards (although two of his musicals won the Tony Award for Best Musical, that award goes to the producers of the show, not the writer/composer), among other awards and honors.[87][88] Miranda received a star on the Puerto Rico Walk of Fame on July 27, 2016.[89]

Year Award Category Work Result
2007 Theatre World Award Outstanding Debut Performance In the Heights Won Audience Awards Favorite off-Broadway Musical Won
Clarence Derwent Award Most Promising Male Performer Won
Obie Award Music and Lyrics Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Ensemble Performance Won
Outstanding Lyrics Nominated
Outstanding Music Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Musical Won
Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
2008 Tony Award Best Musical Won
Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
Best Original Score Won Audience Awards Favorite New Broadway Musical Nominated
Favorite New Song ("In the Heights") Won
Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Male) Won
Favorite Ensemble Cast Nominated
Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical Nominated
Dramatists Guild of America Frederick Loewe Award[90] Won
2009 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Won
Pulitzer Prize Drama Nominated
2013 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Lyrics Bring It On the Musical Nominated
Tony Award Best Musical Nominated Audience Awards Favorite New Musical Nominated
2014 Daytime Emmy Award[91] Outstanding Original Song ("Rhymes With Mando") Sesame Street Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award[92] Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics (shared with Tom Kitt) 67th Tony Awards Won
2015 Lucille Lortel Awards[93] Outstanding Musical Hamilton Won
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Awards[94] Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical Won
Taylor Fox's Heart Award Won
Outstanding New Score Won
Drama League Awards[95] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Nominated
Drama Desk Awards[96] Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Music Won
Outstanding Lyrics Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical Won
New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards[97] Best Musical Won
Off Broadway Alliance Awards[98] Best New Musical Won
Obie Awards[99] Best New American Theatre Work Won
Edgerton Foundation New American Play Awards[100] Won
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation[87][101] The MacArthur Fellowship Won
George Washington Book Prize[102] Special Achievement Award Won
2016 Grammy Award[103] Best Musical Theater Album Won
NAACP Image Awards[104] Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration Nominated
Dramatists Guild of America Awards[105] Frederick Loewe Award for Dramatic Composition Won
Edward M. Kennedy Prize[106] Drama Inspired by American History Won
Laurence Olivier Award[107] Outstanding Achievement in Music In the Heights Won
Pulitzer Prize[108] Drama Hamilton Won
Fred and Adele Astaire Awards[109] Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show Nominated
Drama League Awards[110] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Won
Distinguished Performance Won Audience Awards Favorite New Musical Won
Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical Won
Favorite Onstage Pair (with Phillipa Soo) Nominated
Favorite Onstage Pair (with Leslie Odom, Jr.) Won
Favorite New Song ("Alexander Hamilton") Nominated
Favorite New Song ("My Shot") Nominated
Favorite New Song ("The Room Where It Happens") Nominated
Favorite New Song ("Satisfied") Won
Favorite New Song ("The Schuyler Sisters") Nominated
Tony Award[111] Best Musical Won
Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Won
Best Original Score Won
Hollywood Music in Media Awards[112] Best Original Score – Animated Film (shared with Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancina) Moana Nominated
Best Song – Animated Film ("We Know the Way") (shared with Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancina) Nominated

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