Few shows have matched the level of anticipation created in London by the music of Hamilton, which has its press night this week. In New York, Lin-Manuel Miranda show is became a phenomenon when it opened in 2015, and Miranda became a big star of the night. But what did he do before Hamilton?
When in 2010, Lin-Manuel Miranda posted her wedding video online, he was doing what thousands of Americans every year.
By Miranda was to become known as co-author and star of the musical In the Heights, which had opened on Broadway two years earlier. But then, Hamilton has become a phenomenon and views of the video took flight. Until now, it has been watched nearly six million times.
The wedding video featured parts from the 1960s musical fiddler on the Roof. Each parent seems to have been called to do (although no does not seem willing). Most theatres would gawp in envy to the production of Miranda together.
In fact, almost all the steps of Miranda, 37 years is now available in the videos posted online. Mostly they are music – even if, as a trust eight years, it has given a boost to the children’s book The Pushcart War.
Michael Riedel, the theater columnist of the New York Post, has seen Miranda success to take shape. “It certainly is a City of New York, born and raised kid who grew up in Washington Heights, which is largely of Hispanic origin. Lin-Manuel’s parents were born in Puerto Rico. He fell in love with musical theatre when he was young.
“He knew all of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim – but he also likes hip-hop and rap music. This combination has given him something special.
“Sometimes, people assume that it started out a poor kid from the ghetto, but really this is not true. His father Luiz has been a political personality who has worked for Ed Koch, the democratic republic of the mayor of New York and the family is well connected politically and socially.” (His mother Luz had a career as a clinical psychologist.)
Miranda attended Hunter College high school, a non-paying school which selects some of New York’s brightest students. The show-tune bug showed up early: in high school, he played in the musical Godspell and Bye Bye Birdie.
Later, he went to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he took the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar. It was clear where his career began at the head.
Riedel thinks the exhibition has had the most influence Miranda was Rent in 1996.Unhappy public
“Rent proved that the American musical theatre of move of the British invasion of Andrew Lloyd Webber. But Lin-Manuel offered something even more: he wrote the lyrics and music and history… but also in the Heights, he has taken a leading role.
“It is remarkable – as if Leonard Bernstein had sung and danced in West Side Story.”
In fact, in 2008, Miranda has helped to revamp West Side Story to the Hispanic public. With Stephen Sondheim for permission, it has provided new Spanish lyrics for the songs sung by the puerto Rican characters. The Hearings did not like the changes and most of the original lyrics were reinstated – but it was clear that Miranda was to be known around Broadway.
In 2011 came his least well-known show: it was the co-creator of bring it On, a musical based on the 2000 film of the same name.
There were those who thought that Miranda is too much work culturally specific to travel outside of America.
But three years ago, Paul Taylor-Mills co-produced In the Heights, in London, in a new staging by Drew McOnie.The key to success
“Working on this show was fascinating. Everyone thinks that Lin has invented a whole new type of music, but really it has not. He has learned so much from other shows such as Sweeney Todd, is it possible to build a room beautifully. Well before Hamilton, he had a deep understanding of what needs to happen when. It is a rare skill.
“He shoots it all over the world, from Cole Porter to Gilbert and Sullivan – but it looks like he has just got a key to another door. It uses a language and a sound that we have all heard in the contemporary paintings stars. Person in the theatre was that, for a long period of time.
“The great thing Lin-Manuel did with Hamilton is to enter a world beyond theatre. People who have no interest in theatre to know about Hamilton: they think that the idea of going to see a show about this guy they had never heard of is really cool.
“Lin is built on everything he has done before and everything that came before that all the stuff he loves. He has made the musical form that is accessible and up to date. It is an astounding achievement.”
Hamilton opens at the Victoria Palace theatre in London, on the 21st of December.
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