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Podcast: Lin-Manuel Miranda on The Spark File
Nov 21, 2019
Audio / Interview

Lin-Manuel Miranda has been a guest of the The Spark File, a podcast hosted by Laura Camien and Susan Blackwell for two episodes where he talks about Hamilton, Freestyle Love Supreme and his personal life.

Check both episodes below.

Photos: Lin-Manuel Miranda at New York Special Screening of HBO’s ‘His Dark Materials’
Nov 21, 2019
Gallery Update / Public Appearances

On November 19, Lin-Manuel Miranda was at a special screening with Q&A HBO hosted for His Dark Materials. Make sure to tune in on Monday at 9.00 PM, or Sunday at 8.00 PM on BBC One, to watch Miranda as Lee Scoresby.

Check all the photos of the Q&A in HQ in our Gallery.

Coverage: Lin-Manuel Miranda on The Daily Show
Nov 21, 2019
Interview / Public Appearances / Video

On November 19, Lin-Manuel Miranda was on The Daily Show and discussed his role on the HBO series His Dark Materials and flexing his improv muscles onstage in Freestyle Love Supreme.

Check all the photos in our Gallery and the video of the interview below.

Coverage: Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about His Dark Materials on Today Show
Nov 19, 2019
Interview / Public Appearances / Video

On November 19, Lin-Manuel Miranda stopped by the TODAY to talk about his new TV show, His Dark Materials, and the new portrait in the Smithsonian that shows him as Alexander Hamilton – and an irreverent photo of himself with Michelle Obama.

Check the photos in HQ in our Gallery and watch the interview below.

Coverage: Lin-Manuel Miranda at the National Portrait Gallery’s 2019 November Gala
Nov 19, 2019
Interview / Public Appearances / Video

At the National Portrait Gallery’s third biennial American Portrait Gala on November 17 evening, stars from the worlds of entertainment, fashion, science, industry and technology converged to celebrate a diverse roster of portrait-worthy icons who are helping to lead our nation forward and define our culture. Lin-Manuel Miranda was among the honorees, with Frances Arnold, scientist, engineer and Nobel Laureate; Jeffrey P. Bezos, tech entrepreneur and philanthropist; Earth, Wind & Fire (Maurice White [posthumously], Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson), award-winning American band; Indra Nooyi, business  executive; and Anna Wintour, editor in chief of Vogue, U.S. artistic director and global content advisor of Condé Nast. The six honorees were presented with the “Portrait of a Nation Prize” by individuals chosen by the honorees themselves, and Michelle Obama introduced Miranda.

Portraits of each of the gala’s honorees will be on view to the public in the National Portrait Gallery’s “Recent Acquisitions” exhibition through August 2020.

Check all the photos in HQ in our Gallery.

Watch an interview from the red capet below.

Under the cut you canread more from the red carpet.

News: Lin-Manuel Miranda Finds a New Location for the Drama Book Shop
Nov 12, 2019
Interview / News

After closing its doors at its longtime 40th Street home in January, the Drama Book Shop is preparing for its moment back: it’s slated to reopen in March 2020 in a new location, 266 West 39th Street. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Jeffrey Seller, and James L. Nederlander perchased the shop when it was struggling and teamed up team for the relaunch with Hamilton set designer David Korins, who modeled the new space after European cafes and reading rooms. The venue will feature a coffee shop, a basement room for readings and classes, and as its centerpiece, a large spiral structure inspired by dramatic literature.

Check a rendering of the Drama Book Shop interior, designed by David Korins, in HQ in our Gallery.

Read Miranda’s statement, via Deadline.

“The Drama Book Shop is the heart and soul of the New York theater community. It’s been an oasis in midtown for a century of storytellers and theater fans alike — a safe space to gather, to learn, and to find great books and music. I found my collaborators there. I wrote drafts of In the Heights there. Freestyle Love Supreme was born there. I made sure the first book-signing of Hamilton: The Revolution was held there. The Drama Book Shop is home. To the next generation of dramatists, actors, directors, composers, choreographers, designers, and theater enthusiasts: the stage is set…Come in. Discover. Enjoy.”

Check in Gallery the picture below.

Under the cut, read The New York Times’ article about the news.

Feature: Lin-Manuel Miranda on The Atlantic on What Art Can Do
Nov 9, 2019
Feature

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote an editorial for The Atlantic. Read it below.

The Role of the Artist in the Age of Trump

And the power of stories that are unshakably true

All art is political. In tense, fractious times—like our current moment—all art is political. But even during those times when politics and the future of our country itself are not the source of constant worry and anxiety, art is still political. Art lives in the world, and we exist in the world, and we cannot create honest work about the world in which we live without reflecting it. If the work tells the truth, it will live on.

Public Enemy’s “911 Is a Joke,” George Orwell’s 1984, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s whole damn catalog—all are political works that tell the truth.

Yes, Rodgers and Hammerstein. Consider The Sound of Music. It isn’t just about climbing mountains and fording streams. Look beyond the adorable von Trapp children: It’s about the looming existential threat of Nazism. No longer relevant? A GIF of Captain von Trapp tearing up a Nazi flag is something we see 10 times a day on Twitter, because all sorts of Nazis are out there again in 2019. As last spring’s searing Broadway revival of Oklahoma! revealed, lying underneath Hammerstein’s elephant-eye-high corn and chirping birds is a lawless society becoming itself, bending its rules and procedures based on who is considered part of the community (Curly) and who is marginalized (poor Jud … seriously, poor Jud). Or consider your parents’ favorite, South Pacific. At its center, our hero, Nellie Forbush, must confront her own internalized racism when she learns that the new love of her life has biracial children from a previous marriage. Let your parents know if they forgot: Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals form the spine of Broadway’s “golden age,” and they also deeply engage with the politics of their era.

My first Broadway musical, In the Heights, is an example of how time can reveal the politics inherent within a piece of art. When I began writing this musical, as a college project at Wesleyan University, it was an 80-minute collegiate love story with a promising mix of Latin music and hip-hop, but it was pretty sophomoric (which is appropriate; I was a sophomore). After college, I started from scratch with the director Thomas Kail and the playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes, and we shifted the show’s focus from the love story to Washington Heights, a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan where everyone is from everywhere. In the 20th century, Washington Heights was often home to the latest wave of immigrants. It was an Irish neighborhood; it was a Russian Jewish neighborhood (Yeshiva University is up there). If you take the Dominican store sign down you’ll see a sign for an Irish pub underneath it, and if you take that down you’ll find Hebrew. Washington Heights was heavily Dominican when I was growing up, and it remains so, with a vibrant Mexican and Latin American immigrant community as well.

As we wrote about this Upper Manhattan community on the verge of change, we looked to our musical-theater forebears. In Cabaret, the upheaval facing the characters in Berlin is the rise of the Nazi Party. In Fiddler on the Roof, the town of Anatevka struggles to hold on to its traditions as the world changes around it, and the threat of pogroms looms. For our musical world, upheaval comes in the form of gentrification. This is obviously different from fascism and pogroms; it’s not even in the same moral universe. How you begin to dramatize something as subtle and multifaceted as gentrification poses some tricky questions. We threw our characters into the same dilemma faced by their real-life working-class counterparts: What do we do when we can’t afford to live in the place we’ve lived all our lives, especially when we are the ones who make the neighborhood special and attractive to others? Each of the characters confronts this question differently: One sacrifices the family business to ensure his child’s educational future. Another relocates to the less expensive Bronx. Our narrator decides to stay, despite the odds, taking on the responsibility of telling this neighborhood’s stories and carrying on its traditions.

We received great reviews. If critics had a common criticism, it was that the show, its contemporary music aside, was somehow old-fashioned or “sentimental.” Gentrification, the businesses closing, the literal powerlessness as the characters face a blackout that affects only their neighborhood—these issues, always there in the material, didn’t register with most theater critics in 2008. In the Heights was considered a hit by Broadway standards. It didn’t leap off the Arts page and into the national conversation like Hamilton would, but we won some Tonys, recouped our investment, and had a wonderful three-year run at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where Hamilton now lives. We posted our Broadway closing notice at the end of 2010.

What a difference 10 years makes.

Right now, Jon M. Chu is editing his feature-film adaptation of In the Heights, which is scheduled to be released in June. We spent a joyous summer shooting the film—on location, in our neighborhood—and issues that were always inherent in the text now stand out in bold-faced type. Gentrification has rendered Lower Manhattan, Harlem, and much of Brooklyn unrecognizable to the previous generations that called those neighborhoods home. The East Village of Jonathan Larson’s Rent is nonexistent, lettered avenues notwithstanding. And the narrative of immigrants coming to this country and making a better life for themselves—the backdrop of everything that happens in In the Heights, across three generations of stories—is somehow a radical narrative now.

Donald Trump came down the escalator to declare his presidential run, and in his first speech he demonized Mexicans: They’re rapists; they’re bringing drugs; they’re not sending their best people. We young Latinos had thought of our parents and grandparents as the latest wave making its home in this country, and we thought that we would be the next group to make this place a better place, to prove once again that the American dream wasn’t just a figment of some propagandist’s imagination. And now we’re in a different age when, for some, considering an immigrant a human being is a radical political act.

Consider this rap, written 12 years ago and delivered by Sonny, In the Heights’ youngest character, in a song called “96,000”:

“Your kids are living without a good edumacation,
Change the station, teach ’em about gentrification,
The rent is escalatin’
The rich are penetratin’
We pay our corporations when we should be demonstratin’
What about immigration?
Politicians be hatin’
Racism in this nation’s gone from latent to blatant”

It was always political. It was always there. Donald Trump made it even more true.

Trump uses language to destroy empathy. He criminalizes the impulse and imperative to seek asylum, to seek a place to live thousands of miles away because the alternative at home is worse. Through his lens, these seekers are not people; they’re “animals” or “bad hombres.”

What artists can do is bring stories to the table that are unshakably true—the sort of stories that, once you’ve heard them, won’t let you return to what you thought before. I think about the crisis on the border constantly. I think about the famous photograph of a little girl crying beside a Border Patrol truck. That picture went viral because it seemed to capture the horror of family separations. But it turned out that the girl wasn’t being separated from her mother—her mother had simply been ordered to put her daughter down while she was searched by agents. The family was in distress, and the border crisis was real, but people used the details of this particular incident to close themselves off from empathy. “Fake news,” they said. A child is crying for her mother, but that’s not enough to keep people from pushing empathy away. I believe great art is like bypass surgery. It allows us to go around all of the psychological distancing mechanisms that turn people cold to the most vulnerable among us.

At the end of the day, our job as artists is to tell the truth as we see it. If telling the truth is an inherently political act, so be it. Times may change and politics may change, but if we do our best to tell the truth as specifically as possible, time will reveal those truths and reverberate beyond the era in which we created them. We keep revisiting Shakespeare’s Macbeth because ruthless political ambition does not belong to any particular era. We keep listening to Public Enemy because systemic racism continues to rain tragedy on communities of color. We read Orwell’s 1984 and shiver at its diagnosis of doublethink, which we see coming out of the White House at this moment. And we listen to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, as Lieutenant Cable sings about racism, “You’ve got to be carefully taught.” It’s all art. It’s all political.

Coverage: Lin-Manuel Miranda at 2019 Fast Company Innovation Festival
Nov 9, 2019
Gallery Update / Interview / Public Appearances / Video

On November, 8 Lin-Manuel Miranda spoke on stage at the “Stories to Tell: Lin-Manuel Miranda and Elizabeth Rutledge in Conversation” panel at the Fast Company Innovation Festival in New York. During the panel, he talked about Hamilton, his ties with American Express, the movie In The Heights, and gave some updates on the Drama Book Shop.

Check all the pictures in HQ in our Gallery.

In the video below, Miranda discusses how ‘Hamilton’ has changed his career.

Watch the video HERE.

Under the cut, read more reports from the panel.

News: Lin-Manuel Miranda unveils Google Arts & Culture exhibition of Puerto Rico’s art
Nov 8, 2019
News / Stills/Screencaptures / Video

On Thursday November, 7 Lin-Manuel Miranda helped Google Arts & Culture to unveil an online exhibition that features work from four Puerto Rico art institutions.

To Associated Press, Miranda said:

It’s a flare out to the world that there’s incredible art here. There’s no reason why Puerto Rican art should not be seen on the same stage as the Louvre, the Met and all the incredible other places where Google has come with its cameras to digitize the artwork.

To present the exhibition, Google Arts & Culture releazed a video in which Lin-Manuel reads a poem dedicated to Puerto Rico, written by Lemon Andersen.

Check the video below and the screen captures in Gallery.

Coverage: Lin-Manuel Miranda joins “Fiesta de Popolo” in Vega Alta
Nov 8, 2019
Gallery Update / Public Appearances / Video

On November, 5 Lin-Manuel Miranda was in Puerto Rico, where he joined the celebration of “Fiesta de Pueblo.” He watched the show and danced with Grupo Cimiento de Puerto Rico.

Check the pictures in HQ in our Gallery and below watch the video of the celebration.