Last night in the CFA Hall, Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 spoke about the origin of his Tony-award-winning 2008 musical In the Heights and other creative endeavors. The talk, entitled “When You’re Home: A Look Back on the Origins of In the Heights” and sponsored by the Theater Department and CFA, spanned everything from a musical performed in the Westco Café, Seven Minutes in Heaven–a 20 minute show about thirteen year olds attending their first unchaperoned party–to writing for the Tony’s to Like Water for Chocolate-inspired creative advice.
“Remember the theme song to ‘Skip It’? That was me.”
As election season kicks into overdrive, we will find ourselves and our ears more and more inundated by political advertisements—and the sound bites they are meant to embed in our brains. For celebrated (and decorated) Wesleyan alum Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, however, political advertisements have a different connotation: To a budding and struggling composer, they served as opportunities to marry music and message. The New York Times‘ Kate Taylor wrote about Miranda’s lesser-known venture in an article last Monday. Check it out here.
As Taylor relates, Miranda’s passion for music has manifested in diverse ways: a hip-hop album devoted to Alexander Hamilton, a repertoire on Sesame Street, and, oh, I don’t know, a quadruple-Tony-Award-winning musical, or something.
Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, whose rap on Alexander Hamilton received a standing ovation from POTUS and FLOTUS at the White House’s evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word in May 2009 (video link), has been taking his act further. He performed recently to rave reviews at the Lincoln Center’s new season of the American Songbook series dedicated to “the celebration of popular American song.”
The show, directed by fellow Wes alum and In the Heights director Thomas Kail ’99 and performed on Hamilton’s 255th birthday, included “a primer on some of the Hip-Hop songs that left an indelible imprint on [Miranda’s] sound, soul and psyche” (starting off with Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind mashed up with Billy Joel and Sondheim, whoa) and 12 songs from work-in-progress “The Alexander Hamilton Mixtape,” according to an enthusiastic report from the Uptown Collective.
Check out Miranda’s interview with Forbes for more on how he became interested in Alexander Hamilton and this recent interview with The New York Times for news on what he’s currently working on (a musical adaptation of Chaim Potok’s 1972 Novel My Name is Asher Lev) and his dream project, “a musical about the 24-hour news channel NY1” that would feature Next to Normal star Aaron Tveit as newspaper-reading news anchor Pat Kiernan.
From Ann Wheeler ’12:
Relay for Life of Wesleyan is having their first Kick-Off event of the year Wednesday, November 30th at Usdan lunch. Come register your team for this awesome spring walking event that raises money for the American Cancer Society.
Last year, Wes Relay raised almost $50,000 and won the New England wide award for biggest growth. Help us make this year even better by registering today!
Date: Nov. 30
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Place: Usdan Marketplace
Cost: Alexander Hamilton ($10 bill form only, no corpses please)