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Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Manhattan native Lin-Manuel Miranda is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning theater arts polymath best known for writing, composing, and starring in Broadway hits such as In the Heights and Hamilton: An American Musical. Interested and active in the arts from a young age, he wrote, directed, and acted in the independent film Clayton's Friends (1996) while only in his mid-teens. Himself of Puerto Rican descent, he began working on the stage musical Into the Heights, about the mostly Puerto Rican/Cuban/Dominican-American Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, as a student at Wesleyan University. He graduated in 2002, and after multiple drafts and productions including a 2007 Drama Desk Award-winning off-Broadway run, Into the Heights opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2008. As its composer/lyricist, Miranda won a Best Original Score Tony Award for the show, as well as a nomination for Leading Actor in a Musical. It also earned him a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and a Pulitzer Prize nomination for Drama with the musical's book author Quiara Alegría Hudes in 2009. He found other work along the way, including a guest spot on the TV drama The Sopranos in 2007, gigs composing music for commercials, and acting and composing duties for the revival of TV's The Electric Company as well as for Sesame Street. Based on the cheerleading film comedy of the same name, he collaborated with Amanda Green and Tom Kitt to write music and lyrics for Bring It On: The Musical, which played at Broadway's St. James Theatre in 2012, all the while continuing to find acting, writing, and music jobs, such as a recurring role on the NBC drama Do No Harm. Inspired by Ron Chernow's biography of U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton, he next composed a rap music-charged project that developed into the instant Broadway hit Hamilton, which opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on August 6, 2015. This time, Miranda was sole auteur, writing the book, music, and lyrics, in addition to originating the role of Alexander Hamilton. Miranda was also a 2015 recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant." ~ Marcy Donelson

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