Hi, this is Lin-Manuel Miranda. I wrote the music and lyrics to In The Heights, I was House's roommate in the mental ward on House, and I'm doing a completely improvised TV special with our hip-hop group Freestyle Love Supreme this Saturday night at 10 pm ET/PT on Pivot http://find.pivot.tv/.

Here's a sneak peek http://www.pivot.tv/shows/freestyle-love-supreme

Okay, I'm signing out. There are nice people from Pivot here and they deserve to go home. You were all very nice (I'll probably sneak back here later and tackle some more oh no I love it bye)

Comments: 245 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

SubtleTypos23 karma

First off, I'd like to thank you for the work you put into In the Heights. I played Piragua Guy in the production at UC Riverside, and it was honestly one of the greatest experiences of my life, so for all the effort you put into the musical to make it what it is today, alabanza.

I remember hearing there was a LOT that went into In The Heights that ultimately ended up not making it in the final Broadway rendition, from large aspects such as Piragua Guy essentially being the narrator in the show to smaller pieces, such as the transition that got cut after Benny's Dispatch. Is there anything else noteworthy that got cut from the final version?

LinManuel22 karma

Alabanza had like, THREE verses that encapsulated Abuela's life. It was more of a full eulogy, and we cut it because it covered some of the same ground as Paciencia y Fe. Those are good. And the Benny/Usnavi rap at the top was more of a battle: This is what I remember off the top of my head: BENNY: USNAVI PROMISE ME YOU'LL ANSWER ME HONESTLY YOU EVER SEEN ANOTHER RAPPER AS HOT AS ME SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING ODD AS ME IT'S OBVIOUS USNAVI IS THE SLOPPIEST MC...

I miss that.

LinManuel18 karma

I could do this ALL NIGHT, but I'm not at home. I'm a do a few more!

Spoonsy13 karma

Can you talk about writing NPH's Tony raps?

LinManuel28 karma

It's terrifying and so so fun. I write them backstage at Radio City (or the Beacon), with Tommy Kail over my shoulder saying, "That's good, that's less so, etc." NPH is a SUPERHERO. He literally gets to run through them once, maybe twice, and then he's spitting them live. These were his idea, and I'm proud to be a part of them.

thosepaperscut12 karma

How would you feel about a film adaptation of In the Heights wherein Cher plays every character?

(Or just a film adaptation of In the Heights in general)

ETA: Saw you already talked about the movie, so now I just wanna know about the first part of the question.

LinManuel19 karma

If Cher kickstarted this, I'd be top donor, homey

chrisjsotelo11 karma

You've worked with so many amazing artists in your career. Any plans on working with the legendary and elusive, Adele Dazeem?

LinManuel19 karma

I saw her on the Oscars and I thought she was great. Have you seen this other artist, Idina Menzel? She's also wonderful. Check her out!

rozanund11 karma

Unrelated, hypothetical question--what is "too soon" for a revival?

LinManuel17 karma

If it's still running. TOO SOON, LION KING, TOO SOON!

zeldagiraffe11 karma

Hi Mr. Miranda! Beyond ecstatic to see that you're doing an AMA. First I just wanted to say that you skyrocketed to the top of my inspiration list ever since I listened to the In the Heights soundtrack, and the whole show gave me direction for what type of music I want to write. I recently played Graffiti Pete in UCR's production of In the Heights and it was a blast and also an eye opening experience to my new definition of community.

While acting is great, I really want to write music. Do you think you could give some insight on how you made it to where you are? I have a great group of friends/writers that I'm working on projects with and it's a great start, but I was hoping that an experienced professional like yourself could also give a few hints or tips.

Thank you!

LinManuel12 karma

You have your answer in your question, which is FIND COLLABORATORS YOU LOVE. I wouldn't get anything done if I didn't have a meeting with Tommy Kail every Tuesday and Friday. Seriously. Every Tuesday and Friday, for years, I'm bringing something new in to play for him, or to discuss. If I don't, it's a short meeting. Hang onto each other, be accountable to each other, and if it's not the right fit, don't try to force it. Musicals are made by committee, so your crew is everything. I hope this helps in some way and I wish you luck.

pelvic_thrusts10 karma

What happened to your Alexander Hamilton hip hop concept album? I've been anxiously waiting.

LinManuel20 karma

I answered this in another thing, but it's coming. It will be both a stage production and a concept album. You don't have to wait anxiously. And you won't have to wait much longer.

daisyviolet10 karma

Lin, you are awesome. Also, do you have any good Sondheim stories (from personal experience)

LinManuel28 karma

He wrote me a REALLY nice email after the first NPH Tony Closer rap. He really liked the Landed it/Candidate rhyme. I have that email printed and framed over my piano. It's amazing how many writers he encourages and corresponds with. I feel lucky to be among them.

dorsett608 karma

I’d love to be able to freestyle like you

But fact is my flow needs work, it’s true

I stand, and I think, but the words I can’t see

Any advice to give to an aspiring MC?

LinManuel18 karma

You have to spit past the point of making sense. Spit until you've used all your words up, and then spit another few hours. You will surprise yourself with what you have to say.

msmoocow7 karma

A meteor strikes earth, obliterating everything on the planet -- except Broadway, for some awesome reason. You're now president of Earth. Who else do you appoint to run the world?

LinManuel12 karma

Hegemon: Lin-Manuel Miranda Guy who actually runs things: Manny Azenberg (Google him, THAT dude knows how to run things Press Secretary: Jonathan Groff, because you can't help but love him.

carrolle7 karma

I made an account on reddit just to ask you this. Is it weird that I've watched "To Life: Vanessa's Wedding Surprise" like 20 times? It gets better every time!

LinManuel12 karma

LOL. So you should know that one of my best men, Bill Sherman, was supposed to be singing, but his wife went into labor on the way to the wedding! So Sara (the woman in the yellow dress) stepped in and sang his part. How great is Vanessa's Dad? He was basically the mayor of Washington Heights after that video went viral.

rozanund7 karma

Will Hugh Jackman be rapping at the Tonys this year?

LinManuel8 karma

I dunno! If he has, I haven't been asked to write 'em.

[deleted]6 karma


LinManuel10 karma

Oh, thanks for asking about BIO! I'm insanely proud of it, and learned so much working with Whitty, Kitt & Green, and Blankenbuehler. I think a lot of the credit goes to Jeff Whitty, who comes by all these things you mention naturally. He created wonderful characters, and we had so much fun making them sing (and flip and do other insane sh*t)

JoeTuck5 karma


First off: thanks for doing this AMA

Second: In The Heights is my favorite musical

Third: I can't wait to see Hamilton

So for the question: I know theres been talk of a ITH movie but I heard it was scraped but then it wasn't, so I was wondering if that's still in production and if so what stage is it in?

Also, what's your favorite musical on Broadway right now?

LinManuel24 karma

The In The Heights movie question! Here is everything I know: We had a go at Universal. It got bogged down in budget issues, it's no one's fault, but it's actually a good thing that version of the movie didn't get made. We are working with a really experienced producer on finding the right partner to make the movie. That producer is working really hard. I felt a lot of pressure to get it made while Heights was running, but now the only pressure I feel is to make it as good as possible. Chicago came out 27 years after it opened on Broadway. Hopefully sooner than that.

amazamy5 karma

So is your relationship with Christian Borle as sassy as Smash made it out to be?

LinManuel12 karma


dorsett604 karma

The next time you see Karen Olivo can you tell her I love her?

LinManuel14 karma


willneu974 karma

Thank you for generally being awesome AND helping my friend ask my other friend to prom!

LinManuel13 karma

Oh, Ethan was very brave! He asked me if he could ask her at my West Side Story screening, and knowing how that movie ends, I thought it would be a nice moment before. You know. Chino. Make it not be true.

TacosAreMyOnlyFamily4 karma

What is your best advice for a theater person of color to get out there? A lot of shows have been classified as "white" shows and at my high school, that's usually how they'd be cast.

LinManuel22 karma

That infuriates me, because I really believe that school is often the one chance to get to play roles the real world might not necessarily let you play. It's supposed to be a LEARNING experience. I'll never get cast in Oklahoma! in real life, but I got to do it in school because it's SCHOOL. My advice: Get so good that they can't ignore you. That's good advice in general. I wish you luck.

ohmagaod3 karma

Hi there Lin! First, I would like to thank you for giving us In The Heights. The first time I listened to it, my grandfather had just passed away, and Everything I Know helped me to get a good cry out of the way. It is still very special song to me.

So, in a similar vein, my question is - what is the most heartwarming experience you've had while working on shows?

LinManuel10 karma

My Abuelo Wisin passed away the Monday after we opened on Broadway. He was sick, and my family kept it from me until opening night because I was working on finishing the show. I flew to PR the next day, got to see him and say goodbye while he was still alive, and he passed away as we flew back to NY. He was my best friend, and the show became my way of mourning/celebrating him 8 times a week. I feel insanely grateful that I got a chance to say goodbye, and had a healthy outlet for my grief.

piratelemonade3 karma

Greetings! Twitterican who volunteered her firstborn child in exchange for an Eden-Espinoza-as-Nina audio here. It's clear from your Youtube vids that you've always been insanely creative and talented- my personal favorite Young Usnavi vid is the King of Wishful Thinking- and my background in developmental psych makes me curious: what about your early years fostered that creativity and talent, if anything? Or did everyone around you just see what a theater juggernaut you were gonna be and steer out of the way? =)

While I've got the chance: thank you, thank you, thank you for Heights, for BIO, for your contributions to WSS, for Hamilton, for all you've contributed to the theater community. Your art has changed the way I think about the world, and that's something I will always be so thankful for.

LinManuel6 karma

You are very sweet. I think I grew up in a pretty sweet situation: My parents were supportive but worked a LOT, and my sister's 6 years older, so I had a LOT of time to myself as a kid. If you make friends with solitude, and you're even a little creative, you're going to make some interesting things.

platosmash3 karma

Did you give Bobby Lopez any help on his Oscar speech?

LinManuel9 karma

That's all Bobby and Kristen. I was SCREAMING with joy for them. I've known Bobby since elementary school, and his little brother was in my first musical. They are the absolute best.

MasonJarr013 karma

Quick! What song is currently stuck in your head?

LinManuel12 karma

I'm Changing My Major To Joan from Fun Home and Action Bronson are on a loop.

oodie11273 karma

What challenges would you say came with writing rap as opposed to "regular" musical music? Love in the heights, and I won't ever stop waiting for Hamilton.

LinManuel5 karma

It's all the same. You're finding the most effective way to tell the story. And context is everything too. It took me MONTHS to write the Hamilton rap you heard at the White House, but the songs you'll hear on the Freestyle Love Supreme special are made up in the moment, based on the words the audience throws at us. They're thrilling for a different reason, because we're jumping out of a plane and building the parachute on the way down.

liameg5283 karma

Can you tell us about the most unusual or surprising experience you've had solving a creative problem/having a "eureka" moment? Thanks! Love your work!

LinManuel10 karma

The Piragua Reprise came the day before our first preview, when we realized our Act two was getting heavy. It was such a happy accident: I wrote it on a break in tech, with Lacamoire at the piano, and Andy staging AS I WAS WRITING IT, in the Rodgers. That was fun.

rozanund3 karma

Who would play Riggins in Friday Night Lights: The Musical?

LinManuel10 karma

Jonathan Groff is Jason Street. Jon Rua is the Latino dude from season 2. Lemme come back to this.

LinManuel9 karma

Josh Henry IS Smash Williams

zuckdaddyd3 karma

Hey Lin, I'm a huge fan of basically everything you've ever done (even the cut Usnavi rap at the top of Act 2), and I'm actually playing Usnavi next week in a concert for my Swing Choir's "In the Heights" Medley (I'll do it justice, I promise). Couple questions:

  1. How did your education affect your creative development? Was Wesleyan key to your development as an artist, or was it more of a gradual/natural thing?

  2. When will you be releasing more things from the Hamilton Mixtape for me to memorize? Do you think it's going to be a Broadway show? If so, can I book tickets right now?

  3. I cannot find "200 Cartas" anywhere online. IMDb says it came out last year, but I also can't seem to find anyone who's seen it... How can I watch it?

Thanks so much in advance for doing this, and thanks for being an inspiration to so many people (myself included).

P.S. Did you know that your "Travoltified" name is "Louisa Marftinez"?

LinManuel10 karma

Congrats on playing Usnavi. I hope you have a great Vanessa too :) 1. I think creativity is a fluid, and it'll fill every outlet to which it's exposed. I'm glad I was exposed to lots of hip-hop and cast albums as a kid. The fact that I got a big part in the 6th grade play (Conrad Birdie) is probably why I'm here. 2. The goal for me with Hamilton has always been a stage production, and a concept album with songs from it. We've made insane progress on both counts, and you'll have news soon. 3. The producers of 200 Cartas are still touring festivals and countries with it, I believe. It'll land in your lap eventually. Thank YOU!

Kknowsbest3 karma

What is your best memory of when you first started working on In the Heights?

LinManuel9 karma

When I was FIRST writing Heights, I was breaking up with my first serious girlfriend, so I was pretty angsty. But that's okay. Heartbreak can be rocket fuel if you use it right.

itsactuallycorrine3 karma

Thank you so much for doing this and always being so gracious to your fans!

My question is: is there any novel/play that you would love to adapt into a musical?

p.s. your tweet with the link just made me sing the entirety of "sunrise" from ITH to my dog.

LinManuel13 karma

I really wanted to adapt 'My Name Is Asher Lev,' one of my favorite books. There was a VERY successful play adaptation, and it was really great, so I don't know if I need to take a crack at it. I just love that story and I'm glad it found a theatrical life.

jackferia2 karma

Hey, could I borrow your copy of "Clayton's Friends"?

LinManuel3 karma

hahahahaha nope

rozanund2 karma

What Beck are you listening to?

LinManuel9 karma

The new album, which I love. I also just drank a 5 hour energy, and the contrast is really interesting.

mosnos2 karma

1)Why the long hair? [serious/curious]

2) What's on your Recently Added music playlist?

LinManuel7 karma

1) Hamilton. Seriously. 2) I wrote a parody of Fugue for Tinhorns for the boys at MBMBaM, a podcast I listen to and enjoy very much. You should ask them to sing it. That's Recently Added.

QueenPoser12 karma

Favorite song at the moment?

LinManuel7 karma

There's a song in Tom Kitt's new musical, If/Then, that is running through my brain right now. I shouldn't give it away, their first preview is happening NOW!

HalberdOwl2 karma

How difficult is the process of balancing your acting life with your writing life

LinManuel3 karma

I only take acting gigs that don't take me away from writing for too long. Hence all the guest spots. It's why I love Freestyle Love Supreme: we show up, we make the show up based on YOUR words, and I go back home to my piano.

rozanund2 karma

The video you guys made a while back with Nicholas Dayton was probably the most inspiring thing I have ever watched.

No question here. Just wanted to shed some light on that.

(for reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nV9IRY5A1s)

LinManuel4 karma

Nicholas has grown into a talented young man. We're still friends. He makes these great Beatles covers and other internet goodness. I love that kid.

MrCondensation2 karma

What's the most difficult rhyme you've ever had to work into one of those closing raps at the Tonys?

LinManuel7 karma

Larroquette almost killed me. Seriously, try to think of a rhyme for it. I went in a different direction.

Bat_turd2 karma

What was Hugh Laurie like?

LinManuel7 karma

Funny, intense, insanely smart, lovely. But you already knew that. I'm happy to confirm it.

martypitt1 karma

Any chance of In The Heights making it to the West End?

LinManuel6 karma

It's going to be in the West End in May! Southwark Playhouse, I believe. Bing that ish

find_my_harborcoat1 karma

I first learned about you from sadsadconversation and miss that community so much. Any chance you could start a sequel conversation with some of your Broadway friends and whoever else you find interesting?

LinManuel4 karma

Wasn't that fun? All credit to Josh Malina for inviting me. I made some real friends through the internet that way.

amazamy1 karma

What's your relationship with Krysta Rodriguez like?

LinManuel3 karma


weirdghostboo1 karma

Mr. Miranda! As a (hopefully) future actor, I was wondering if you could give any advice to those of us who aspire to have our names in the lights...or just not spend most of our lives working as waiters/waitresses?

LinManuel4 karma

You have to create your own opportunities. Before Heights, the only role I booked was as a bellboy on The Sopranos (which was AWESOME, by the way.) I HAD to write my way in. The internet allows you to do this very well. And good things travel, as reddit consistently proves. Bad things travel too, but whaddayagonna do.

PandoraBlackBox1 karma

What r ur favorite sports? Do u have any tatoo? What novel r u reading these days?or do u have any favorite book or autor? Are u such a good,kind,quiet,geek friend ?in real life like ur role in do no harm? Thanks

LinManuel3 karma

I like watching Football, as my twitter followers know I have a tattoo of the FLS logo, on my shoulder. I got it in Melbourne. I am reading the Robert Caro Lyndon Johnson biographies. I am SUCH a good kind quiet geek friend. I'm not as smart as Ruben in Do No Harm. Thank YOU.

amazamy1 karma

Bombshell or Hit List?

LinManuel4 karma

The one with J.Hud. What was that called?

rpi_player1 karma

Hey LMM! First off, I loved In The Heights, and I really loved your work on Bring It On: The Musical. What's your songwriting process? Do you use a computer program to help or is it all piano and Dixon-Ticonderoga?

LinManuel8 karma

I wrote lots of Heights on Garageband. I learned to use Logic Pro on Bring It On, because I wanted to create whatever beat Andy wanted to choreograph and work from there. I've written most of Hamilton in Logic too. But I always go back to the piano: If it doesn't sound good on just piano, I scrap it. FUNDAMENTALS!

JoeTheHoe1 karma

Hey Lin-Manuel! I'm a huge fan of your work; as a young musical theatre actor, I hope to perform in one of your shows someday.

1) What hip-hop/rap artist would you like to see write the score to a musical (if any)?

2) If there were a "jukebox musical" using one contemporary rap artist's music, which artist's music would you like to see as the focus of the musical?

LinManuel3 karma

1) I wish Biggie was around: his storytelling skill remains unparalleled in hip-hop. He's an incredible narrator, which is why he isn't my answer to #2, because in a musical, you want to show, not tell the audience what's happening. 2) This is not a full answer, but I'd pay to see Jay-Z's Friend or Foe songs as a one-act play, ala The Zoo Story. It's so conversational and virtuosic at the same time.

mbalda1 karma

How have you liked the television experience from doing appearances here and there as opposed to the live stage?

I felt like I had to ask a question but most importantly I just want to say that as an Ecuadorian currently living in America In The Heights just hit so many points close to home and I have never felt more connected to score like I did when I first listened to it. Gracias gracias gracias. Also, super excited about Hamilton, been looking forward to it for a while.

LinManuel3 karma

This FLS thing will be fun, because it's a mix of the two and an experiment: we're going to try to translate this live thing we do as best we can. De nada de nada de nada

loweritup1 karma

You're very talented and thank you for your contributions to the American artistic community. So let's play hipster theater geek: Who is on the cusp of becoming the "next big thing" on Broadway in regards to writing/songwriting/lyricist?

LinManuel3 karma

Here are a list of writers I like very much who are writing cool things, in no order: Nathan Tysen/Chris Miller, Shaina Taub, Nick Blaemire, Dave Malloy, Joe Iconis, Ryan Scott Oliver, Carmel Dean, Jaime Lozano, Deb Abramson, my friend Bill Sherman. That's a very incomplete list, but there's lots of talent out there.

angerham1 karma

The White House Performance, nice.

LinManuel2 karma

Thanks, homey

Noland1001 karma

U seem really into multi media and social networking, do u ever feel the need for privacy? Best and worst part of fame for u.

LinManuel3 karma

I'm constantly doing an internal gut check, making sure I don't share more than I can spare. Alexander Hamilton? HE was an oversharer. (Read The Reynolds Pamphlet)

andrealafea1 karma

What is something you HAVE to do every time you sit down and write?

LinManuel4 karma

Make coffee.

Kknowsbest1 karma

What is the best advice ever given to you?

LinManuel5 karma

"you ain't promised mañana in the rotten manzana." -Big Pun

caseywase1 karma

pick a superpower: flying or invisibility?

LinManuel8 karma

Inivisibility if I can still wear clothes and be invisible. It's cold, and I'm a never-nude. Otherwise, flying.

Kknowsbest1 karma

Who encouraged you the most through your career?

LinManuel6 karma

My parents were pretty awesome, once they realized I couldn't be swayed. I feel pretty grateful for that. You should follow my dad on Twitter @vegalteno. He can be wildly inappropriate when he's watching TV. Curses in Spanish n sh*t.

Kknowsbest1 karma

If you weren't in the entertainment industry, what would you be doing right now for a career?

LinManuel7 karma

Teaching. I love teaching. I used to teach 7th grade English. I loved it so much that I quit the second I realized I loved it, because I had other things I needed to get done first.

casualevils1 karma

Hi Lin! I played in the pit at my High School's production of In The Heights and I'm a huge fan. The AP US History teacher at my high school plays your Alexander Hamilton rap for every class, so I have to ask: how's that project going?

LinManuel12 karma

Hi. What did you play? I'm sorry for the high trumpet part, it's really murderous. Hamilton is going really well. I have written about 50 songs for the project since that White House bit you saw, and you'll get to hear it soon.

rja161 karma

First off, I wrote a paper on you for my final of my theatre class about how you're changing musical theatre and got a 100, so I feel like I owe you half the credit. Second off, huge fan of everything you've done from Heights to Hamilton, and as someone who wants to get into writing for theatre, where do you start looking for ideas? How do you think of writing something like In the Heights or something like a hip-hop concept album about Alexander Hamilton?

LinManuel2 karma

The good ideas are the ones that won't let go. They'll find you. Seriously.

Noland1001 karma

U seem very unaffected by success. Have always been so easy going?

LinManuel2 karma

I have my good and my bad days, like everyone. On my bad days, I try to stay off social media.

amazamy1 karma

Obviously your Fiddler on the Roof wedding surprise for Vanessa went wonderfully, as shown in your famously successful youtube video my brother shows everyone he's ever met -- how involved is she with the theatre world?

LinManuel4 karma

She is a lawyer and former scientist (seriously--I hit the f*ckin jackpot, you guys) and she didn't sign up for ANY of this. But she loves hip-hop and music and tolerates me banging around the piano and singing to myself all day.

cdm71 karma

Hi Lin! I absolutely adore In the Heights. There is so much that I can relate to. Anyway, I've always been curious why Usnavi is Dominican and not Puerto Rican.

LinManuel4 karma

Because Washington Heights is a largely Dominican neighborhood, though everyone's really from everywhere, I wanted to make your narrator and entry point Dominican as well.