Lin-Manuel Miranda leaving ‘Hamilton’ July 9; vows to return
NEW YORK (AP) — The news that no die-hard “Hamilton” fan — or anyone who hasn’t seen the Broadway smash yet — wants to hear has arrived: Lin-Manuel Miranda, its creator and star, is leaving the show this summer. But he promises to return “again and again.”
Miranda, who has been in the show since it made its debut off-Broadway in early 2015, said Thursday he will perform his last show July 9. Javier Munoz, the current understudy for Alexander Hamilton, who also took over from Miranda in “In the Heights,” will take over July 11.
But Miranda said he will happily return to the show from time to time and RadicalMedia plans to film the original cast performing the show at the end of June and will, at some point, make it available. “We are aware that history has its eyes on us,” said Miranda.
“For people who will say, ‘But I’ll never see Lin as Hamilton!’ — yes, you will,” Miranda said in an Irish pub in his Washington Heights neighborhood. “I have written this insane part that I can’t seem to get tired of, that is new every night... I think this is a role I will be going back to again and again. I know it feels like the end of the world to a very small number of people now, but I plan to revisit this role a lot. ”
He’ll also be offering fans a chance to see his final July 9th bow for just $10. Fans who donate just $10 to the Hispanic Federation will be entered to win two tickets to his last performance, an invitation to the after-party and airfare and hotel for those living outside of New York City. It’s being organized through Prizeo .
Miranda, who said he’s itching to cut the long hair he’s grown for the show, has already lined up plenty of work after he leaves. He has a lead role opposite Emily Blunt in a film sequel of “Mary Poppins” directed by Rob Marshall and with songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the composers of “Hairspray.”
Miranda will also help turn his musical “In the Heights” into a movie. He has written music for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the upcoming animated feature in Disney’s “Moana,” a musical, animated tale about a Polynesian princess that comes out in November.
Munoz, who has been with the show since it debuted off-Broadway in 2015, said his taking over won’t have too much effect on the show. “If anything, it’s personal,” he said. “We’re losing our guy, right? Our friend, the guy we love, is not going to be in the building as often. It’s like camp. You get to the end of summer and you become pen pals.”
Miranda also revealed he has launched a merchandise site called Tee-Rico that will sell fan art inspired by Miranda’s work. Currently, it is selling a T-shirt printed with part of his sonnet he delivered at the Tony Awards, dedicated to the dead in the Orlando nightclub shooting. All proceeds from it will benefit Equality Cares in Florida.
“Hamilton,” which cast minority actors as Founding Fathers, burst through the Broadway bubble like few shows. It has been praised by politicians and rap stars, influenced the debate over the nation’s currency and become a cultural phenomenon.
“It’s been the best tsunami in the world, but it’s been a crazy thing to be in the middle of this,” said Miranda, who has a young child. “I don’t walk down the streets in Washington Heights the way I used to.”
On Sunday, it won 11 Tony Awards, including best new musical, best book and best score. That capped a stunning year for “Hamilton” that includes Miranda winning the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for drama, a Grammy, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. Miranda lost the best-actor Tony to his co-star Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr to his Alexander Hamilton.
“Hamilton” also won for best direction, orchestration, choreography and best featured actor and actress statuettes for Renee Elise Goldsberry and Daveed Diggs. Even if the show starts to shed stars — and Miranda said he didn’t know about anyone else’s plans — he said the musical can still be strong.
“I hope the 11 Tonys that we racked up on Sunday are somewhat of a validation to those folks that this is a great piece,” Miranda said. “It takes a village to make a show like that.”
Plans are already in the works to open a Chicago company of “Hamilton, as well as one for London and a U.S. national tour that starts on the West Coast. Miranda said the talent level is huge at casting: “There are so many unbelievable actors of color who don’t get roles like this in the musical theater canon.”
Miranda, the New York City son of Puerto Rican parents, came across Alexander Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow’s book and was inspired to write a musical. He debuted the first song at the White House.
His book and score for “Hamilton” has sly references to Gilbert and Sullivan, Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Miranda already has a Tony for creating “In the Heights” and is part of a crew that freestyle raps. An album of celebrity covers and songs cut from the final musical is in the works for the fall, called “The Hamilton Mixtape,” as well as a documentary on the show set to air on PBS in October.
While he steps away from playing Alexander Hamilton, Miranda said he will still push for legislation to stop ticket scalpers and also champion Puerto Rican fiscal strength. He would not be drawn into the 2016 election other than urging a get-out-the-vote push, particularly among Latinos.
“I’ve got this megaphone. I’m going to pick it up when it needs to be picked up,” Miranda said, citing his support for Broadway Cares and the Mariposa DR Foundation, among others. “That’s sort of the other part of my life now.”
Mark Kennedy can be reached at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits