By Thomas Hester II (@thomasahester2)
This is not an article about comparing.
It is tempting to try and find parallels between greats but he is not the next Sondheim, Schwartz or ____.
He’s the first, the only Lin Manuel Miranda.
Miranda has been a SNL host, freestyled on the White House lawn with President Obama and has met the many stars that clamor for a ticket for the hottest show in Broadway but it wasn’t always this way.
It took Miranda 9 years to take a show from a Wesleyan one-act with the only remaining line En Washington Heights to Broadway’s In The Heights
And from 2009 when they got 13 Tony nominations and eventually won Best Musical Lin has been a musical theater star.
A common refrain from this titular show is Paciencia y Fe or Patience and Faith en ingles [in English].
This is a common theme in Miranda’s life.
Musicals take a long time to create.
Composing the music, writing the book and if that’s not enough there are casting calls, workshops and sometimes Off-Broadway and if you are really lucky Broadway.
4 out of 5 musical shows don’t make their money back to their investors.
Paciencia y Fe
When announced there would be a collaborative musical with both Tom Kitt and Lin Manuel Miranda as composers the expectations where substantial.
Tom Kitt won a Tony Award for his score on Next to Normal.
That project would become Bring It On the Musical.
Bring It On is a popular movie from the year 2000 seen as career enhancing roles for both Fargo’s Kristen Dunst and Being Mary Jane’s Gabrielle Union.
Common goals for a show beside being critically acclaimed is to stage on Broadway and get a National Tour.
Bring It On got all three.
Instead of New York the show premiered in Atlanta for a month.
It ran on the Great White Way for a limited engagement after going on a National Tour.
And the Tony Awards nominated the show for Best Musical in 2013.
Though these are all good accomplishments Bring It On the Musical didn’t capture the popularity of In The Heights.
Around the same time Miranda worked with musical theater legend Stephen Sondheim.
First to give two new songs for the 1978 musical Working and secondly to translate lyrics and dialogue into Spanish for the West Side Story revival.
The story of his next hit is the tale of legends.
Miranda was on vacation and needed a book to read and chose Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton.
Captivated by the parallels between how Hamilton’s writings got him off the island and to America andhow hip hop artists through their music escape their harsh realities made him decision this was his next right step.
It took years for a hip hop musical about the founding fathers with a diverse cast to grace the stage.
Miranda says in interviews the song My Shot took a year to write.
He wanted to give every word meaning and every stanza to upstage the previous one.
After a wildly successful run on Off Broadway complete with sell out dates at to the Public Theater most expected the show to go straight into Broadway to qualify for the 2015 award season.
Instead Miranda stuck to his philosophy of Paciencia y Fe and took six months to rework and improve songs.
Paciencia y Fe
Finally 6 years after picking Chernow’s book in Barnes and Nobel Hamilton premiered on Broadway.
The show has exceeded every expectation and surpassed Miranda’s previous hit into a phenomenon.
Hamilton broke both The Producers & Billy Elliot’s record of most Tony nominations with 16.
Again a Miranda backed show won Best Musical along with a Pulitzer.
The soundtrack itself went Platinum and won a Grammy.
While writing Hamilton Miranda was still at work with another project, Moana.
He is a huge fan of Disney animation in particular Academy Award winner Alan Menken’s projects.
Moana is nominated for 2 Golden Globes including Best Original Song.
All signs point to an upcoming Oscar nomination for Lin as well.
With the elusively EGOT [Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony] still in wait Miranda is staying busy in London preparing for the new Mary Poppins.
Sony announced the songs Miranda wrote years ago will be unveiled for animated musical Vivo in 2020.
And the Disney partnership continues as they announced Lin will join his idol Menken for the Little Mermaid live action adaptation.
Paciencia y Fe
Patience and Faith indeed