After House executive producer Katie Jacobs saw In the Heights in New York, she wrote the part of Alvie for Lin-Manuel as soon as they realized that House would be institutionalized at the end of Season Five.
Miranda's first ever job was working in a McDonald's outlet in New York. He also taught English to seventh-graders at his old high school.
Miranda is a founding member of the hip-hop comedy improve troupe Freestyle Love Supreme in New York.
When he was in 4th grade, Lin got an autograph from famed composer Alan Menken which read "To Lin, From Alan. Stop kissing Jenny's feet." Lin went to school with Menken's niece, Jenny.
As a child, Lin spent his summers with his grandparents in Puerto Rico, where he learned to speak Spanish.
His parents are Luis Miranda, a political consultant and former community activist, and Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda, a psychologist.
Awards and Nominations for In the Heights:
- 2009 (W)
• Grammy Best Musical Show Album
- 2009 (N)
• Pulitzer Prize for Drama, one of three finalists
- 2008 (W)
• Tony Award Best Musical
• Tony Award Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
• Dramatists Guild of America Frederick Loewe Award ("achievement in a theatrical score presented on Broadway in the previous theatrical season")
- 2008 (N)
• Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
- 2007 (W)
• Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut
• Clarence Derwent Award
• Obie Award for Music and Lyrics
• Drama Desk Award Outstanding Ensemble Performance
• Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Musical
• Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical
• Broadway.com Audience Award for Favorite Off-Broadway Musical
- 2007 (N)
• Drama Desk Award Outstanding Lyrics
• Drama Desk Award Outstanding Music
In the 1996 comedy Clayton's Friends, Miranda worked as director, writer, producer, and editor. He also played the part of Pete in the movie.
In 2008, Lin had an uncredited role of Felix in the romantic-dramedy Sex and the City.
He based the In the Heights character Abuela Claudia on Abuela Mundi, his surrogate grandmother and his nanny as a child. She was a compulsive gambler and made Lin pull the arm of illegal slot machines near their house as she played.
One of Miranda's dream is to compose a musical score for an animated movie.
By the age of 12, Lin has played the roles of Captain Hook, Bernardo in Fiddler on the Roof, a farmer in Oklahoma!, Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie, and a backup player in The Wiz in his school plays.
Lin began writing the songs for In the Heights when he was still a sophomore at Wesleyan University. He wrote the music for seven years, in which time he collaborated with the director Tommy Kale and playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes to make it into a full-length musical.
Lin-Manuel: (advice to aspiring actors) I would say soak up everything you can. Soak up all of it. I worked on some of the craziest plays you ever saw in your life. Couldn't be more different than In the Heights. Soak up everything you can. You learn just as much from shows you hate as shows you love.
Lin-Manuel: I learned to write music in high school just from music theory classes and piano lessons. And then I sort of came at salsa with a sense of inheritance about it. I was a little bit intimidated by it because it's incredibly complex music. But I also said if I can't write it, then I haven't been f*cking paying attention all my life.
Lin-Manuel: I fell in love with [musicals] at a very young age. I'm not one of these people who likes every musical; I'm very picky. But when a musical is firing on all cylinders, I don't think there's a more moving art form.
Lin-Manuel: (on his last Broadway performance of "In the Heights") It was unreal. I came out with a five-minute standing ovation, which was pretty amazing. Having done the show for a year, you learn to do the show so you can do it safely eight shows a week, but [I thought] 'I don't have another one coming, got to leave it all on stage tonight.' It was really a special night.
Lin-Manuel: (on choosing not to originally name the musical "In the Heights" as "In the Wood" since he grew up in Inwood, not Washington Heights) It does sound like porn! And there are tons of porn names in Inwood - I lived off Dyckman Street, just around the corner from Seaman Avenue and Cumming Street. I shit you not.
Lin-Manuel: (on attending Wesleyan University) In certain circles we could be considered annoying. It's a very ultra-liberal school. I lived in the naked dorm.
Lin-Manuel: I remember faking sick to get out of school so I could buy The Little Mermaid on VHS. I just rewinded the hell out of it.
Lin-Manuel: I can't live anywhere else but I think one of the things that makes New York special is that it's always been home to people of varied socioeconomic backgrounds and that as it gets more expensive it will increasingly become exclusively a playground for the rich. It's important that New York remains affordable for all New Yorkers.
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