Sunday Spotlight: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Posted on April 17, 2016 By

Lin-Manuel Miranda! Prolific, profound, and unparalleled!

Graphic by Tee LaFrance Todd – © 2016 Curionomastics

Graphic by Tee LaFrance Todd – © 2016 Curionomastics

A long-time fan of the theater, I was so ecstatic when I heard about the recent Broadway show, Hamilton. Even though Bearded Chum was a bit skeptical of it, I thought it sounded like a really interesting idea and I’m happy to hear that it is so popular. I probably won’t be able to see it for years yet, but as I listen to Lin-Manuel Miranda on NPR and read about his accomplishments, I find that the anticipation keeps building. For now, I’m forcing myself to be content with the album, which won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.



A talented performer, composer, lyricist, and playwright, Lin-Manuel Miranda also won a Grammy Award in 2009 for the original cast album of In The Heights. This show earned four Tony awards, too, was recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2009 and more recently garnered three Olivier Awards for its original London production. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work can also be seen in Bring it On: The Musical, and of course, the previously mentioned Hamilton, which itself has captured numberless accolades including a record-breaking 10 Lortel Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical, and an OBIE for Best New American Play. In addition to writing and composing the score, he also stars in Hamilton as the principal character. The book Hamilton: The Revolution which he co-wrote with Jeremy McCarter was just released a few days ago. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda is also the co-founder and member of the hip-hop improv group, Freestyle Love Supreme, which puts on performances regularly in New York City. Last month he wowed people with his freestyle raps inspired by prompts held up by President Obama at the White House.

Lin-Manuel’s Trivia Trio:

  1. He has appeared on several television shows including House, How I Met Your Mother and Sesame Street.
  2. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Yeshiva University in 2009, being the youngest person to be awarded such an honor in the history of the school.
  3. He can be heard in the audiobooks The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.


Lin-Manuel is an attractive and gentle name that was apparently inspired by Puerto Rican José Manuel Torres Santiago’s poem, “Nana Roja Para Mi Hijo Lin Manuel.” The Chinese origin of Lin means ‘forest’ or ‘beautiful jade,’ but it also has roots in German, Old English, and Welsh languages. Manuel is the Spanish and Portugese form of Emmanuel, the Hebrew name meaning ‘God is with us.’ Together, the names produce a breezy sound with their soft l’s and n’s, pleasing to say and hear.

Miranda is most likely a place name that was adopted as a surname from one of several locations in Spain, Portugal, and Catalonia. It has connections with the Latin root ‘mirandus’ which means ‘wondrous’ and certainly could not be more fitting for a more amazing individual. To me, it also evokes the lovely Miranda of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, perhaps foreshadowing future Mirandas in the realm of theater.

Also, if you’re interested in other names from Hamilton, check this out.


Thanks for joining me for another Sunday Spotlight! Be sure to head on over to my main page when you get a chance as I will be adding a lot of new content there. Have a wonderful week!


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