Our favorite Broadway composer/performer, Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02–who wrote his debut In the Heights during his sophomore year at Wesleyan–has created another hit. Hamilton, a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, played almost entirely by actors of color and with a score composed not of “typical” show tunes but of rap, hip hop, and pop ballads, opened on Broadway in August. Next Friday, October 2nd, a special Wesleyan-only benefit performance will take place.Those of us who can’t make it to the show are in luck, though; the sung-through musical is fully represented on the cast recording, which comes out Friday, September 25th. If you’re not interested in paying $20 for an album, or if you’re not sold on musicals, or rap musicals, or American history, the entire album is available to stream for free on NPR until Friday. Check it out!
Guys, here’s the deal. We’re all feeling really old again because 2014 is over now, and that’s what happens each time you celebrate another year having come and gone. But before we can settle into 2015, which a previous year tried to warn us about (????), it’s time for your annual Wesleying Year in Review. Frosh writers astag_rocky, Caro, and Jackson put together the ten biggest moments on campus (#tbt style), links to relevant Wesleying posts that help you brush up on each of those topics, and lots of fun honorable mentions.
Some really weird, interesting, amazing, magical stuff happens at Wes, and this post serves to remind us to take those memories with us as we go forward. (Looking at you, “New Year, New Me” people.)
Now, a disclaimer: Not everything that happened this year is covered because even with help, frosh only get some of the things right some of the times. Feel free to leave your personal favorite/weirdest/coolest Wesleyan moments in the comment section. Also, note that the events that do get covered are not placed in any particular order of importance or severity.
Read after the jump to see who wore it best.
A pit-picture (piture?)
This semester, I had the pleasure of being one of the keyboardists for Wesleyan’s Theater and Music Department production of In the Heights — and, to be honest, I’m still not sure what happens in the show. All I know is that there’s a sassy hairdresser, a hilarious abuela, and a whole lot of frustrated people who really need just one thing to go right in their world to make their lives great. Like I said, I really don’t know what happens. From the pit, all I can tell you is that the cast has really great voices and incredibly rad shoes. But there are some other cool things I can tell you, considering I’m an In the Heights ~insider~, so here goes:
So, it snowed for the first time last night. I’m assuming this means that winter has started, which is a little scary, but the events of this weekend are making it easier to process. There are many awesome things going on, including cultural shows, dancing shows and performing bands.
Here’s a roundup of some of the things happening:
“In the Heights” tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood—a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams, and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.
With book by Wesleyan’s Distinguished Shapiro Professor of Writing and Theater Quiara Alegría Hudes, “In the Heights” is the winner of the 2008 Tony Awards for “Best Musical,” “Best Original Score” (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Theater ’02), “Best Choreography” and “Best Orchestrations” (Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman, Music ’02). The Wesleyan production is a collaboration between the Music Department and Theater Department, directed by Associate Professor of Theater Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento, with music direction by Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Nadya Potemkina.
Dates: Wednesday, November 12 through Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 8pm, and Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 2pm and 8pm
Place: CFA Theatre
Cost: $15 general public; $12 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, Middletown residents, $7 all students
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.
Urgent, from Nadya Potemkina:
The pit band for IN THE HEIGHTS is looking for a guitar, bass, percussion, and trumpet players! FULL ACADEMIC CREDIT – and tons of non-academic fun. Even if you personally do not play, HELP spread the word—international recognition and program credit for recruitment efforts are guaranteed. Contact Nadya Potemkina ASAP
Jenna Robbins ’13 wants to make you part of the next generation of Second Stage:
Do you dream of being the next Lin-Manuel Miranda? Second Stage is now accepting applications for our Fall 2013 season! Applications are due May 5th at 11:59 pm – please email Grace Herman Holland ’15 at gholland(at)wesleyan(dot)edu for a link to the application form.
Questions? Contact any staff member; our contact information can be found on our website, 2ndstage.org.
Deadline: Sunday, May 5th, 2013
In other news, he never stops killin’ it.
Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, rapper-slash-playwright-slash-romantic-slash-flash-mob-connoisseur…turned-actor, is debuting tonight in a recurring role on NBC’s Do No Harm, a modern take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. No word yet on whether Wishbone will be making a guest appearance in the show. The show will air on NBC at 10pm.
Miranda, whose returns to campus have been widely documented, is a guest star on the new NBC show after guest appearances on House and Modern Family. Miranda has been unusually inactive about his return to television on Twitter, but did drop this tidbit for “Twitterico:”
I am going to savor our last 30 Rock. Then I’m going to be on NBC an hour later, on Do No Harm. I’m feeling all the feelings tonight.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 31, 2013
I can only assume that he’s relying on his faithful following at his alma mater’s blog to promote the event. Don’t worry, LMM, I got yo back.
“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.