For Broadway fans, no date this year will be as tearful as Saturday. That’s when Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of Hamilton, leaves his best-selling show.
That day also marks the last shows of Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr, and Phillipa Soo, who portrays Eliza Schuyler. Miranda’s departure may be the hardest, but wipe your tears. There’s lots of Miranda coming up.
Hamilton on Film
The original cast of Hamilton — what Miranda calls “an incredible ’28 Yankees of actors” — was captured on video last week. RadicalMedia, which taped the last night of Rent on film, recorded two performances of Hamilton and asked actors on their days off to come back and do close-ups.
“We’re getting it because we know how hard it will be to get that later. So let’s get it now, while we’re all under one roof,” Miranda said recently. Thomas Kail, who helmed the successful Grease: Live on Fox and won a Tony for directing Hamilton, directed the filmed version.
Miranda wasn’t sure when or how the film will ever be shown, but at least there’s a high quality version somewhere. “Cold comfort to the impatient, but I think comfort to many,” he said.
In addition to saying he wants to return to the Broadway show from time to time, Miranda has also left open the possibility that he may make a guest appearance in Hamilton outside of New York, perhaps in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, or Washington, D.C.
“When I say I want to hop back in, I think that sort of extends everywhere. I don’t know where and I don’t know when yet,” he said. Miranda did the same thing with In the Heights on tour, and said he’d be happy to step in if the actor playing Alexander Hamilton in any given city needs a vacation: “I would love to.”
Mary Poppins 2
Miranda will star opposite Emily Blunt in Disney’s sequel to Mary Poppins directed by Rob Marshall. Rehearsals start later this year; shooting starts in early 2017.
For the sequel, Hairspray songwriter Marc Shaiman is composing a new score and writing original songs with Scott Wittman. “I’ve heard some of the songs that Shaiman and Wittman have written and they’re incredible,” said Miranda.
The new movie will take place in Depression-era London, 20 years after the first film, and will take story lines from P.L. Travers’ children’s books. Miranda will play a new character, an English street lamplighter named Jack. “We’ll be in London most of next year,” he said. “I’ve got to work on my accent.”
You’ll be able to hear new Miranda songs when Disney releases Moana, an animated film with a Polynesian princess at its heart. It’s scheduled to hit theaters Nov. 23.
Miranda said he learned that he’d landed the composing gig — alongside Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina — for the film the same week he discovered that his wife was pregnant. He wrote songs between performances of Hamilton and had cast members sing the demos.
He also wrote songs for Dwayne Johnson, who voices a demigod named Maui in the film. Miranda said he found old footage of Johnson singing during his wrestling days to find his range.
Writing a Disney score has long been on Miranda’s bucket list. “I wanted to do that since Sebastian started trying to convince Ariel that she should stay under the sea when I was 9 years old,” Miranda said, adding that fans should look no further than his son to show his adoration of Disney musicals. “It’s no accident that his name is Sebastian.”
Hamilton, which began as a mixtape, will now inspire a mixtape. A new album set to drop in November will feature a mix of covers, songs inspired by the show and six or seven tunes cut from the final show. “That is still deciding what it wants to be,” he said.
Miranda, who didn’t reveal the guest artists, said some of the cut songs include a slavery rap battle, one called “Congratulations” sung by Angelica Schuyler, and a song called “Valley Forge” that he plundered for “Stay Alive.”
“A lot of my favorite rap albums have skits and so those are our skits — me singing hoarsely at four in the morning,” he said.
Miranda lent his voice to a new all-star recording of the 1965 song “What the World Needs Now is Love,” with all proceeds going to help the LGBT Center of Central Florida, and he collaborated on a song with Jennifer Lopez called “Love Make the World Go Round” that will benefit victims and families of the Orlando shooting.
Documentary on PBS
The 90-minute Hamilton’s America is directed by Alex Horwitz, one of Miranda’s best friends from college, who started filming Miranda for the show while the composer was writing Hamilton.
“He’s got footage of me writing ‘My Shot,'” he said. “He’s gone on to get interviews with George W. Bush, the Obamas, Jimmy Fallon, Questlove.” Miranda also did sit-down interviews with theater icons Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman and a discussion with rapper Nas about writing lyrics.
The documentary airing Oct. 21 and produced by RadicalMedia is an attempt to explore where Hamilton intersects with history and includes “footage from the show that no one has seen yet,” Miranda said.