Tony and Grammy Award-Winning 'In the Heights' Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Gears Up for New Off-Broadway Musical, 'Hamilton'
There's no rhyme or reason to deny that composer, rapper, lyricist and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda has crazy lyrical skills that are reflected in his comedic hip-hop improv show and Pivot TV series, "Freestyle Love Supreme," or that he has the creative vision to write and star in a four-time Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical like "In the Heights."
Well, he's at it again, and theater lovers are in for another treat with the upcoming release of his latest off-Broadway musical, "Hamilton."
"My next musical is called 'Hamilton' and were opening up at The Public (Theater) in January," Miranda told Latin Post in an earlier exclusive interview.
The much anticipated off-Broadway musical, "Hamilton," which will star Miranda (who is of Puerto Rican descent) in the titular role and will run from Jan. 20 - March 22, 2015, "sets the story of Alexander Hamilton and the founding fathers to contemporary hip-hop."
In "Hamilton," inspired by the biography "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow, Miranda will rap as the title character - an immigrant to the United States, after growing up in the British West Indies, who becomes a New Yorker and founding father and ultimately serves as the first secretary of the treasury," according to The New York Times Arts Beat blog.
"The show features a history book's worth of quarreling characters including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Vice President Aaron Burr, who fatally shot Hamilton during a duel in 1804 in Weehawken, N.J."
The inception of "Hamilton" began with Miranda's "The Hamilton Mixtape, a hip-hop album also based upon the life of Alexander Hamilton. Miranda wowed President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and the audience when he performed a part of it at the "White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word" on May 12, 2009, accompanied by Cuban-American celebrated pianist Alex Lacamoire.
Following the impressive White House performance, it was announced in March 2014 that "Hamilton," a new musical based on the earlier "Hamilton Mixtape" work, would premiere at The Public Theater in January, 2015. "Hamilton" will be directed by Miranda's frequent collaborator Tony Award-nominee, Thomas Kail.
"From bastard orphan to Washington's right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country's first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, 'Hamilton' is an exploration of a political mastermind," adds The Pubic Theater on its official website.
"George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton, and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all attend this revolutionary tale of America's fiery past told through the sounds of the ever-changing nation we've become. Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail directs this new musical about taking your shot, speaking your mind, and turning the world upside down."
Latin Post caught up with Miranda, who recently starred in City Center Encores!' "tick, tick...BOOM!," at the Vanidades Awards last month where he had the honor of presenting the legendary Rita Moreno with the Iconic Woman of Style 2014/Lifetime Achievement Award.
Miranda touched upon the profound impact that Moreno and "West Side Story" had on him during his youth. This inspiration led him to work on the most recent "West Side Story" revival, where he provided Spanish translations. He also wrote the score to "Bring it On."
Besides reminiscing of his childhood, Miranda also touched upon Latinos in theater and recalled his college days when the creative juices starting flowing for "In the Heights." More specifically, he recalled an annual talent show that was held at his alma mater, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
"I think about the Latino talent show that we do in college do every year, which was so much fun," he told Latin Post. "We got to celebrate our culture. I went to a school with not a lot of Latino kids. It's the time you get to bring that in and celebrate it. It's so much fun to do that."
"There are so many school productions of 'In the Heights' that it keeps me busy every Latino Heritage Month," he added. "My college (Wesleyan University) where I first wrote the show is doing 'Heights' this year, I am going back to speak there. La Guardia High School is doing it this year, and that's where I did my SAT's, so there just are a lot of full-circle moments."
"In the Heights," which was based on the community of Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards, winning four for Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations. It was also nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 2008, "In the Heights "opened at the Richard Rogers Theatre in New York where Miranda played the role of Usnavi. The show continued on as a national tour in 2010 and then came to an end in January of 2011.
"Hamilton," which is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award, will run from Jan. 20 until March 22, 2015. For more information, visit the The Public Theater.
Check out a clip released from The White House from "The Hamilton Mixtape," which was performed by Miranda (accompanied by pianist Alex Lacamoire) at the "White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word" on May 12, 2009.
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