Lin-Manuel Miranda – Family, Family Tree

by Kristine Bigcas

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an award-winning American lyricist, Broadway actor, author, and songwriter. He is most popular for his works like In The Heights and Hamilton, where has won four Tony Awards for the former Broadway show and eleven Tony Awards for the latter. He has also been a recipient of the Pulitzer Price for Drama, among his many awards. In 2016, he wrote songs and sang some of them for the animated film, Moana. His collaborative work with Disney earned him nominations for three different award bodies.

He is expected to star as Jack in Mary Poppins Returns along with famous actors and actresses, such as Emily Blunt and Ben Whishaw. The film is set to be released in December 2018. Other musical shows that Lin-Manuel was involved in include West Side Story and Bring It On the Musical. He has also released one book for Hamilton.

 

Personal Life of Lin-Manuel

Background

Born on January 16, 1980, Lin-Manuel grew up in the Hispanic community of Inwood, Upper Manhattan. Ever since he was born, Lin-Manuel has spent most of his early years in the city. Though, he has also spent quite some time in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, where his family roots from. As a matter of fact, his Puerto Rican ancestry inspired his name. “Lin-Manuel” came from the poem of José Manuel Torres Santiago.

He studied in Hunter College Elementary School and Hunter College High School. From his younger years, Lin-Manuel was already fond of writing jingles. One of his works were later used for the gubernatorial campaign of Eliot Spitzer in 2006. After the completion of his basic education, he then entered Wesleyan University, taking up Theater Studies.

While in college, he co-founded the comedy troupe for hip hop, Freestyle Love Supreme. During his second year, he already started writing the draft of In the Heights and has submitted it to the student theater company.

He was an active performer, writer, and director of the many musicals and plays of the university. He graduated in 2002 and taught English for some time. In 2009, he received an honorary degree from Yeshiva University and in 2015, he received an honorary degree in Doctor of Humane Letters from Wesleyan University.

He was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015 to be the Council Member of The Dramatists Guild. Another honorary degree was given to him in May 2016, the Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

He met with then President Barrack Obama in 2016 who motivated him to join other Democratic lawmakers in making a call to action to the congress for the Senate bill that allows Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy in hopes to ease the country’s financial crisis. His awareness in politics rooted from his father’s work.

Family

Aside from his Puerto Rican roots, Lin-Manuel has a maternal interracial ancestor. He is also related to the Puerto Rican rapper, Residente, and to another Puerto Rican singer-composer ILE. The opening track of Residente features Lin-Manuel.

 

Luis Miranda Jr.

Lin-Manuel’s father is a political consultant and has been in the industry for over four decades.

He graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and New York University and is one of the founding partners of MirRam Group, LLC. He was the special adviser for the Hispanic affairs in 1980’s to Mayor Edward Koch. He also was the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Hispanic Affairs in the late 80’s. Also, he was also selected in 1990 to be the founding president of the Hispanic Federation.

As of late, he is the chairperson of The Broadway League’s Latino audience development program, board member of the John Jay College Foundation, vice-chair of Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and one of the advisory boards to Nielsen Ratings, and R.Evolucion Latina.

 

Luz Towns-Miranda

There is not much personal information about Lin-Manuel’s mother aside from her being a clinical psychologist.

She is also a board member of the nonprofit organization, Planned Parenthood. She focuses on helping the Hispanic community stay aware about health and reproduction as well as avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

In 2017, she was a part of the People en Espanol’s 25 Most Powerful Women. When asked about how they have taken part in the success of Lin-Manuel, she said, “The key for us was that from young, both Lin-Manuel and Lucecita, were supported. The importance of family was always paramount for us.

 

Luz Miranda-Crespo

Unlike Lin-Manuel, his sister Luz focused on their family business.

She got her degree in Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1995. She then took her Masters in Accounting and Economics at New York University, completing it in 2003.  She is the current Chief Financial Officer of MirRam Group and has been working there since January of 2000. Before that, she was the project manager of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for four years.

She is also the Secretary of the Board of Trustees at Montclair Cooperative School since May 2012 and is still in the position at the time of writing.

She is fluent in both Spanish and English language.

 

Vanessa Adriana Nadal

Lin-Manuel and his wife Vanessa met the first time when they were still in Hunter College High School.

In high school, she was a part of the women’s tennis varsity under the doubles category and the swim varsity team. She was also the president of Hunter Latin Organization and a column writer of What’s What Newspaper. Post high school, she entered Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 2004. Three years after completing his undergraduate studies, she studied Juris Doctor in Fordham University School of Law. She entered multiple organizations while studying. In 2009, she studied at Universidad Pontificia Comillas, a study abroad program of the Fordaham Law School. She stayed in Madrid, Spain for the whole fall semester.

In 2001, she was a lab researcher at Austrian Academy of Arts. She then became a research intern in January 2002 for MIT. Her next intern position was at Johnson & Johnson. After her college graduation, she took a full-time position at Johnson & John where she stayed for almost 3 years. She worked as R&D Scientist for Innovative Ageless Skin Platform.

A year after she stopped working for J&J, she became a legal intern for the Supreme Court of New York Appellate Division and two months later for the King Ramsey Perry & Howell, LLP. Her career in Jones Day started when she was just a Summer Associate in May 2009. She then became a clerk which eventually led her to becoming an associate in May 2011.

Vanessa and Lin-Manuel got married in 2010. He sang To Life from the musical Fiddler on the Roof during their wedding reception. The couple had a son in 2014 and named him Sebastian. They now live in New York with their dog, Tobi.

 

Career of Lin-Manuel

His first successful work was In the Heights and received a positive response off-Broadway when it opened in Broadway in March 2008. It received 13 Tony Award nominations and won four for Best Musical and Best Original Score. It also won one Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. The show had a total of 1, 185 performances throughout its entire run. Lin-Manuel starred in the musical before he passed on the role to his alternate. He also translated the Spanish lyrics for the revival of West Side Story in 2009.

In 2007, he appeared in an episode of the television series, The Sopranos and in the premier of the sixth season of House in 2009. Aside from that, he did 17 episodes for the revival of The Electric Company.  It was at this time that he rendered his teaching service to Hunter College High School and worked for the Manhattan Times.

Lin-Manuel also co-wrote Bring It On the Musical. It opened in early January 2011 and had a national tour in the middle of the same year. It officially closed in December 30, 2012 with two Tony Award nominations for Best Musical and Best Choreography.

After his work for the show, he appeared in TV shows like Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother. He also joined the stage for Merrily We Roll Along and Tick, Tick…Boom! His composition, Bigger!, won him an Emmy Award in 2014. It was also the opening number for the 67th Tony Awards. It was around this time that he submitted his demo for Walt Disney.

More of his works include his music contribution for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He also made a cameo in the musical Les Mesirables and played the role of Lord Hailer. The show was the first musical that he had seen as a child and has been his inspiration through the years.

He also co-wrote Love Makes the World Go Round with Jennifer Lopez in 2016. The song was written in honor of the victims of the Orlando Night Club Shooting. Apart from those, he also recorded audio books like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saen.

Lin-Manuel co-wrote songs for the animated film, Moana. His demo in 2014 bridged this collaborative work. Lin-Manuel sang We Know the Way and You’re Welcome, which was a duet with Jordan Fisher. His work in Moana received positive reviews. His How Far I’ll Go composition received nominations for the Golden Globe, an Academy Awards, and Critics Choice Award.

Come 2018, Lin-Manuel is expected to be seen in the sequel of Mary Poppins. He will also be the creative producer of The Kingkiller Chronicle. As of late, he is working on the set of Vivo, an animated film to be directed by Kirk DeMicco. He is also voicing Gizmoduck in the reboot of DuckTales.

Literary Works

He wrote two articles for The New York Times in 2016: Stop the Bots From Killing Broadway and Give Puerto Rico Its Chance to Thrive. He also published a book with Jeremy McCarter in 2016, titled Hamilton: The Revolution.

 

The Success of Hamilton Musical

His motivation in creating Hamilton started when he was on a vacation in 2008. He was inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. He then started drafting a rap song about Hamilton. He performed his composition in front of then President, Barrack Obama, at the White House during the Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word on May 12, 2009.

Following his performance, he then spent time writing My Shot to showcase the views and principles of the founding father. It wasn’t until 2012 that Lin-Manuel had an extended set of songs. This was called as the Hamilton Mixtape. Its official release was on December 02, 2016 and debuted at the top spot of Billboard 200.

Hamilton was first previewed by the public in January 20, 2015 at The Public Theater. Lin-Manuel played the role of Hamilton on stage. The workshop of the actors started in 2013. After its off-Broadway success, the musical then previewed at the Richard Rogers Theater in July 2015 before its official opening date in August 06, 2015.

The opening of the show was considered to be one of the biggest pre-opening totals in history after it sold out 200,000+ tickets. In the 2015 Drama Desk Awards, the show received a total of 14 nominations and won 7, including the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical.

During its opening, the show had its lottery where 21 front row seats were given out at $10 (the Hamilton Bill) for two tickets. About 700 people lined up for the chance of winning the lottery. The practice earned the hashtag “Ham4Ham.”

Lin-Manuel plays mini shows during the time of drawing the lottery winners.

Lin-Manuel, with the rest of the cast this time, performed at the White House on March 15, 2016. However, at the end of June 2016, he also confirmed the news that he was leaving the show when his contract expires. This was to make way for the other projects that he had to do, including the production of the music for Moana and his upcoming role in Mary Poppins Returns.

His Hamilton role was passed on to his alternate, Javier Munoz. His last performance for Hamilton was on July 09, 2016. Before leaving, he left a statement that he “plan [sic] to revisit this role a lot.”

In October 2016, Hamilton opened in PrivateBank Theatre with the Chicago Production. On the same month, a PBS documentary featuring Lin-Manuel and some cast premiered at the New York Film Festival and was aired in October 21, 2016. The musical show is also due to open at Victoria Palace Theatre in London for the West End in November 2017. Its first U.S. tour started in March 23, 2017 in San Francisco and will begin its second tour in early 2018.

Overall, Hamilton is the second highest-grossing Broadway Show, running behind Lion King.

 

Achievements and Net Worth

All in all, he has won three Tony Awards, two Grammys, an Emmy, and a Pulitzer Price.

He also received the MacArthur Fellowship or often called as “Genius Grant” among twenty more awardees for his “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” He was also given the History Makers Award from the New York Historical Society in 2015 along with the historian Ron Chernow.

He was also included in the 2016 “Most Influential People of the World” of Time magazine. Moreover, he is also a recipient of the National Arts Club Medal of Honor and the Richard Rodger’s New Horizons Award from ASCAP Foundation.

On top of that, he has his own star in the Walk of Fame of Puerto Rico. His net worth is at $10 million dollars.