Your #1 Source for everything Lin (Manuel) Miranda!
Feature: Lin-Manuel Miranda writes a piece about Freestyle Love Supreme
Sep 1, 2019

On BroadwayDirect, Lin-Manuel Miranda penned a letter telling the story of how the improvised hip-hop met and stared to perform.

Freestyle Love Supreme will start previews at the Booth Theatre on September 13, get your ticket!

It’s 2003, and Anthony Veneziale and I are freestyle rapping around a piano in the basement of the Drama Book Shop. Anthony works here. I’m supposed to be working on my new musical In the Heights, but on every break Anthony comes in and we freestyle instead. I bang out chords on the piano, while Anthony and I make each other laugh, making up rhymes on the spot, telling stories, going back and forth. Anthony keeps saying, “we should do this in front of people.”
He has to say it a lot of times before I realize he’s serious.
Our first performance as Freestyle Love Supreme is the day after the great NYC Blackout of 2003. The city is still coming back to life. Our performance was supposed to be at the Peoples Improv Troupe Theater on 29thStreet, but that block still doesn’t have electricity yet. The Drama Book Shop on 40th Street does. So we lead the 16 friends who came to see us to the bookshop basement, and we are so grateful that we make up raps about each and every one of them. A hilarious evening of theater that is only theirs.
We grow. Thomas Kail, who has been directing In the Heights (and would go on to direct Hamilton) is soon directing us, guiding us towards us shaping an evening that allows us maximum freedom as improvisers and a satisfying night of theater for the audience. Christopher Jackson and Bill Sherman, who have been working on In the Heights in the basement with us, join right away. I bring in Arthur “The Geniuses” Lewis, who I’ve known since third grade, and is one of the best musicians I know. Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan, a brilliant beatboxer and improviser, joins us to provide the beat and we are never the same. And over the years, we find more and more people with this unique skill set: to make people laugh, to tell a story spontaneously, all while rapping at the same time. The squad grows. Utkarsh Ambudkar. Andrew Bancroft. James Monroe Iglehart. Daveed Diggs.
When you’re performing a traditional show on Broadway night after night, people sometimes ask you, “How do you keep your performance fresh?” This is never a concern with Freestyle Love Supreme. The show is always fresh. It changes every night. All of our suggestions of what we freestyle and sing about come from you, the audience. You are our greatest collaborator. We build it together and it becomes a unique shared experience. It’s one of the reasons we have people lock their phones when they come see the show. It’s only meant to exist for the time we’re all together and then it’s gone. We are listening so intently to you to make our show, and you are listening in turn. Every night, you are going to suggest how we play onstage, and you are going to get a hilarious evening of theater that is only yours.
Over the years, Freestyle Love Supreme has had the great fortune to perform all over the world. We’ve toured the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as the Aspen, Melbourne and Montreal Comedy Festivals. We got matching tattoos. We’ve had fantastic shows in NYC at great venues including Ars Nova, the PIT, and the Gramercy Theatre. In between these runs, we’d all go off and work on other projects. Several of us took what we learned from the road and applied it to songs and skits that were a part of the 2009 revival of The Electric Company on PBS. Careers in music, television, film and theater took us in all different directions. We even did a TV show called “Freestyle Love Supreme” in 2014 (you can watch it, it’s on iTunes!). You’ve seen members of Freestyle Love Supreme in movies, on TV, and on Broadway. But we still keep coming back to perform together as Freestyle Love Supreme, because there’s nothing quite like it.
We returned to the stage earlier this year, when we cut the ribbon on Ars Nova’s new downtown Off-Broadway home at the Greenwich House Theater. We had an incredible 5-week run. Now we are approaching a 16-week run limited engagement run on Broadway at the phenomenal Booth Theatre.
And I’ll always come back to FLS for as much time as I can, whenever I can. I hope I get the chance to perform with this group for decades to come. It’s always challenging. It’s always rewarding. It’s always hilarious. I’m so proud of the deep bench of performers who has joined our ranks over the years. Everyone has achieved great success in their individual careers, but Freestyle Love Supreme remains special to us all. And it exists because we were having fun and Anthony said, “we should do this in front of people.” So here we go. I hope we see you there.
Lin-Manuel Miranda

Feature: Lin-Manuel Miranda on Departures
Sep 1, 2019
Feature / Interview / Photo Session

Lin-Manuel Miranda is on the cover of Departures, on the September issue dedicated to the 30th annyversary of the magazine.

Check the cover and the photoshoot in our Gallery and read the interview below.

Lin-Manuel Miranda seems to be perpetually in motion. To wit, on a Monday afternoon in late May, I found him taking a short break from rehearsals for the film version of his first musical, In the Heights, which was shooting on location in Manhattan. He was also celebrating the finale of the FX miniseries he executive-produced, Fosse/Verdon, and prepping for a Broadway run this fall of Freestyle Love Supreme, the improv hip-hop collective he’s been a part of since 2004. And then there’s the movie musical he’s planning to direct, an adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick…Boom!, and Vivo, the animated film he’s collaborating on with his In the Heights cowriter, Quiara Alegría Hudes.
But we were sitting down mostly to talk about his activism and philanthropy. Among the causes for which he has put his charisma and celebrity to work: Puerto Rico’s efforts to recover from Hurricane Maria, for which he has raised, with the help of American Express, more than $43 million for Hispanic Federation UNIDOS in addition to more than $14 million for Flamboyan Arts Fund.
March for Our Lives, the group against gun violence started by survivors of the Parkland massacre, and voter registration. Here’s how he explains his role as an entertainer and awareness-raiser.

QUESTION: To put it mildly, you have a lot on your plate. How do you keep your public roles as artist and activist in some kind of balance?

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: Balance is the thing you think about all the time. And that includes being a good dad, and taking my kid to school, and having time to sleep. I mean, I feel like we’re all balancing those things all the time. Like how do we get the time for the thing we really are passionate about doing, and balance that with things you have to do? How do you log the time with your family so that everyone’s good and in touch? And then there are the things that I feel like would fall under the category of “activism.” It comes from the same feeling as a creative impulse. It’s the thing that doesn’t leave you alone. That question of, Can I be of service here?

Q:What’s on your mind right now, aside from the ongoing issues you’re involved with?

LMM: The 2020 election is on my mind. I don’t have a candidate picked out yet. I think that will sort itself out, but voter registration is something that I’ve leaned into, even before anyone knew who I was. I think particularly when our issues are on the table as they are, for Latinx people, whether it’s immigration, whether it’s Puerto Rico, we have to come out and vote and be heard.

Q: Do you see yourself endorsing or full-throatedly campaigning for a candidate?

LMM: Yeah, probably. Someone who is criticizing me would say, “You’re an actor, you’re a writer—who cares?” Well, yeah, but I would have endorsed someone and I would have worked on their behalf before I had written Hamilton. So I’m just doing the stuff I would have done anyway. But when people say “stick to writing,” or “stick to acting,” or whatever it is they want you to stick to because it agrees with their thing—I would love to! I would love nothing more than to curl up in a ball and just write things, but our work exists in the world and our work exists in conversation with the world. So, we have to talk about the world as we see it.

Q: How much did your childhood affect your approach to activism, growing up with a father, Luis A. Miranda Jr., who worked in New York City government and is now a political consultant?

LMM: My dad, in many ways, functions as my Jiminy Cricket in terms of when I can be helpful in causes that are bigger than entertainment. I mean, we grew up in a political household. I remember registering people to vote when I was a kid. I would get sent to the Dyckman projects on 10th Avenue and go from one building to the next, from the top all the way down, with the green forms.

Q: What’s it like returning to In the Heights? Are you updating the script?

LMM: I mean, there are things that were implicit then that are explicit now, like the way this wave of Latinx immigrants has to fight for their personhood. In this world, we are more demonized than we have ever been. This notion of, “We came from somewhere else and we’re trying to make the best of our lives here. We are just like you”—this, somehow, is a radical statement in 2019. It shouldn’t be. It didn’t feel that radical in 2008 [when In the Heights opened on Broadway], but it actually is, because there are so many who would say, “You don’t belong here. This country’s full.” To see these characters joyously waving the flags of their home countries in New York City, it’s crazy that that’s a radical act. But it’s wonderful to put that on screen.

Video: Lin-Manuel Miranda shares his Sesame Street Memory
Aug 14, 2019

Lin-Manuel Miranda has many memories with Sesame Street and he’s sharing a few of his favorites in a new video.

Check it below!

Video: Lin-Manuel Miranda at the San Diego Comic Con Entertainment Earth booth
Aug 2, 2019
Interview / Video

Lin Manuel Miranda stopped by Entertainment Earth booth at SDCC to launch a brand new Pin Mates set dedicated to the original Broadway cast of In The Heights, tell how his first Comic Con was going and talk about what’s next for his career.

News: Norman Lear & Lin-Manuel Miranda Partner On Rita Moreno Doc For PBS
Aug 1, 2019
Movie Projects / News / Television Projects

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Norman Lear will produce a documentary about Rita Moreno, “The Girl Who Decided to Go For It” will air as part of the PBS American Masters series in 2020 with fellow Puerto Rican Mariem Pérez Riera directing.

DEADLINE: Lin-Manuel Miranda have partnered on a new doc exploring the life of West Side Story and One Day At A Time star Rita Moreno.

The pair are working up Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go For It (w/t) for PBS and its Thirteen strand. The film, which will premiere in 2020, will explore the Puerto Rican actor’s 70-year career and will feature interviews with Moreno, Lear, Miranda, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally and Chita Rivera.

It is produced by Norman Lear’s Act III Productions in association with Maramara and executive producer Miranda.

It will explore how she went from being born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, eventually immigrated to New York City and became the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in West Side Story. It will discover how she managed to deal with pernicious Hollywood sexism and sexual abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando, and an attempted suicide a year before she won her Oscar.

Lear, Miranda and Michael Kantor exec produce with Brent Miller as producer, Mariem Perez as producer and director and Ilia Velez as co-producer.

“How I wish my Puerto Rican mother were alive to see this: her child’s story being celebrated by the likes of American Masters,” said Moreno. “It is not something she or I could ever have imagined. I’m astonished. I’m humbled.”

“When I learned from my producing partner, Brent Miller, that a film had not yet been made on Rita Moreno, I couldn’t believe it and suggested we make it together,” said executive producer Norman Lear. “There’s no woman more deserving of the American Masters stamp. Her talent, her activism, her life – all worthy of an audience. And her story, an inspiration to so many, is one that should live on forever.”

“Rita is La Reina. Punto. Full stop,” said executive producer Lin-Manuel Miranda. “Her life, talent and career is a masterclass in the American dream. It is about time that she takes her rightful place amongst her peers on American Masters.”

“Rita Moreno has won every major award – the Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony – for good reason,” said Michael Kantor, American Masters series executive producer. “She is not just an American Master, she is an American treasure.”

“As a filmmaker, woman and Puerto Rican, I am proud to have the opportunity to tell Rita’s story,” added director Mariem Pérez Riera. “Her many victories in the face of prejudice are an inspiration to me. Hopefully, this film will give strength to the women all over the world, who today, face a similar fight towards equality.”

Photos: His Dark Materials Press Conference in Los Angeles
Aug 1, 2019
Gallery Update / Photo Session / Public Appearances

We found new pictures of Lin-Manuel taken in Los Angeles on July 24, during the TCA Summer Press Tour, for the promotion of His Dark Materials.

Check them in HQ in our Gallery.

Public Appearances > 201924 July – ‘His Dark Materials’ Press Conference, Los Angeles
Photo Sessions > 2019Session 011
Coverage: Lin-Manuel Miranda at “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” Opening Night
Jul 27, 2019
Gallery Update / Public Appearances

On July 25, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Vanessa Nadal attended the “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” Opening Night.

Check the photos in HQ in our Gallery.

Coverage: His Dark Materials TCA Summer Press Tour
Jul 26, 2019
Gallery Update / Photo Session / Public Appearances

On July, 24 Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Jane Tranter and Jack Thorne attend the HBO Summer TCA Panels to promote His Dark Materials.

Check all the photos in HQ in our Gallery.

Public Appearances > 201924 July – HBO Summer TCA Panels 2019 Public Appearances > 2019 24 July – Warner Media Entertainment TCA Party Photo Sessions > 2019Session 010 Photo Sessions > 2019Session 011 Photo Sessions > 2019Session 012 Photo Sessions > 2019Session 013

Under the cut you can read a report of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s part during the panel, thanks to CheatSheet.

Photos: San Diego Comic Con Entertainment Weekly Party
Jul 21, 2019
Gallery Update / Public Appearances

At the San Diego Comic Con, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrapped the three days long promotion of his projects at the Entertainment Weekly Party on July, 20.

Check the photo in HQ in our Gallery.

Coverage: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Experience activation at the San Diego Comic Con
Jul 21, 2019
Gallery Update / Public Appearances / Video

At the San Diego Comic Con, Lin-Manuel Miranda made a surprise appearance at the Brooklyn Nine-Nine Experience activation on July, 20.

Check the photos in HQ in our Gallery and the video below.