Childhood & Early Life
Lin-Manuel Miranda was born on January 16, 1980, in Upper Manhattan, New York City, USA, to Puerto Rican parents, Luz Towns and Luis A. Miranda, Jr. His mother was a clinical psychologist, while his father worked as a consultant to New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Miranda has an older sister named Luz who works in ‘MirRam Group’ as chief financial officer.
Although Miranda’s childhood was mostly spent in Inwood, Manhattan, he never failed to spend a month every year at his grandparents’ home in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico.
Miranda describes his ancestry as one-quarter Mexican. His name ‘Lin-Manuel’ was inspired by a Vietnam War poem written by José Manuel Torres Santiago.
After completing his elementary and high school education from ‘Hunter College Elementary School’ and ‘Hunter College High School’ respectively, he went to ‘Wesleyan University’ to pursue his major in theatre studies. Post his graduation, he worked as a high school English teacher for a brief period of time.
His exposure to various genres of music at an early age ignited his love for hip-hop. He wrote jingles which were later used for Eliot Spitzer’s gubernatorial campaign in 2006.
During his university days, he formed a hip-hop comedy troupe called 'Freestyle Love Supreme' and came up with the earliest drafts of ‘In the Heights.’
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Career & Achievements
Miranda started his career in 2002. Along with John Buffalo Mailer, he worked with director Thomas Kail for the revival of ‘In the Heights.’ In 2004, this team of three was joined by writer Quiara Alegría Hudes. The musical ‘In the Heights’ had its Broadway premiere on March 2008, and became a massive hit. It ran for two years at a stretch.
His debut work brought him four ‘Tony Awards’ and an award for the ‘Best Musical and Best Original Score.’ It also received the ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Musical Theater Album’ in 2009.
Miranda came up with two new songs for the revised version of Schwartz and Nina Faso's 1978 musical ‘Working’ as per the request of composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz. On May 2008, the musical opened in Florida at the ‘Asolo Repertory Theatre.’
Miranda worked with Stephen Sondheim while translating the 2009 Broadway revival of ‘West Side Story’ to Spanish.
His work was not restricted to Broadway alone. He was seen making a guest appearance on the television series ‘The Sopranos’ in an episode titled ‘Remember When.’ He essayed the character of Gregory House's hospital roommate ‘Alvie’ in the premiere episode of the sixth season of ‘House’ in 2010.
He composed and acted in 17 episodes of the revival of ‘The Electric Company’ in 2009. He was seen as a rapper and intern in the ‘CollegeHumor’ sketch ‘Hardly Working: Rap Battle.’
Miranda played occasional roles in children’s TV series ‘Sesame Street.’ He also sang the theme song for its recurring segment ‘Murray has a Little Lamb.’
He has contributed to a column reviewing restaurants in the ‘Manhattan Times.’ Also, he has composed music for various commercials.
Along with Tom Kitt and Amanda Green, Miranda composed the music and wrote the lyrics of ‘Bring It On’ which was premiered at ‘Alliance Theatre,’ Georgia on January 2011. It was eventually nominated at the ‘Tony Awards’ for ‘Best Musical’ and ‘Best Choreography.’
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He was also seen in several television series. He appeared in the episode ‘Good Cop Bad Dog’ from the TV series ‘Modern Family’ in 2011. He was also seen in the ninth season of ‘How I Met Your Mother.’
The song ‘Bigger,’ which he had composed along with Tom Kitt, earned him the 2014 ‘Emmy Award.’
Inspired by Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton, Miranda came up with the musical ‘Hamilton’ which narrated the story of one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Before creating ‘Hamilton,’ Miranda had written a rap about Alexander Hamilton which he performed at the ‘White House Poetry Jam’ on May 12, 2009. Miranda spent a year writing the song ‘My Shot’ which would later be used as the third song from ‘Act 1’ of the musical. By 2012, he had written extended set pieces which he then referred to as the ‘Hamilton Mixtape.’ ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’ caught the attention of many, with ‘New York Times’ calling it “an obvious game changer.”
On January 2015, ‘Hamilton’ premiered off-Broadway at ‘The Public Theater’ and met with critical acclaim. The tickets sold like hot cakes and the musical was praised by famous personalities like Barack Obama and Stephen Sondheim. Miranda was honored with the ‘MacArthur Foundation Award’ the same year.
The year 2016 was a great one for Miranda as he won the ‘Pulitzer Prize’ for drama in April. The month of May witnessed a new record in the history of Broadway as ‘Hamilton’ was nominated for 16 ‘Tony Awards.’ It ended up winning 11 awards out of the 16 nominations. Miranda received two ‘Tony Awards’ under the ‘Original Score’ and ‘Book’ categories.
He wrote the lyrics and composed the song ‘How Far I'll Go’ for the animated movie ‘Moana’ (2016). This earned him a nomination at the ‘Academy Awards’ under the ‘Original Song’ category.
In 2009, Miranda was given an honorary degree by ‘Yeshiva University’ in Washington Heights, Manhattan. He became the youngest person to receive the honor.
He received the honorary degree of ‘Doctor of Humane Letters’ from his alma mater ‘Wesleyan University.’ He also received the ‘MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award’ in the year 2015.
He appeared as a ‘guestpert’ in the podcast ‘My Brother.’ In the show, he came up with new lyrics to the song ‘Fugue for Tinhorns’ from the musical ‘Guys and Dolls.’
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Miranda was seen as a host for the show ‘Saturday Night Live’ on October 2016.
He also worked as a special featured composer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ and was seen playing a minor role in the movie ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green.’
He was seen in two episodes of the comedy television series ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ in 2017.
In 2018, he was seen playing ‘Jack’ in ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ the sequel of ‘Mary Poppins.’ The same year, he played ‘Jesus’ in a couple of episodes of a comedy web television series titled ‘Bartlett.’ The same year, he voiced ‘Paquito Fernando’ in one of the episodes of Canadian-American animated television series ‘Nina's World.’
Miranda was cast to play voice roles in the popular animated television series ‘DuckTales.’
It was announced on July 29, 2019, that Miranda had collaborated with renowned TV producer Norman Lear to make a documentary about the life of Rita Moreno. The documentary was tentatively titled ‘Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go For It.’