Tag Archive for In the Heights

Hamilton Wins Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album

The Broadway musical sensation­ Hamilton claimed a Grammy Feb. 15 for Best Musical Theater album, and the show’s creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, rapped his acceptance speech. Miranda and the cast of Hamilton (directed by Thomas Kail ’99) also performed for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony live via satellite from the show’s home at the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York.

In addition to Miranda and Kail, the show’s Wesleyan connections include album co-producer Bill Sherman ’02 and Atlantic Records’ head of A&R Peter Ganbarg ’88, who helped sign the album to the label.

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, rapped his acceptance speech. Miranda and the cast of Hamilton (directed by Thomas Kail ’99)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 and Thomas Kail ’99. (Photo by Robert Adam Mayer)

“This has been an amazing experience for all involved, and the fact that so many Wes alums are a part of this makes it even more special,” Ganbarg said. “Hamilton is the fastest-selling Broadway cast recording in over 20 years, since Rent, and it will soon be certified as a Gold album—the first cast album to be certified since Jersey Boys, almost 10 years ago.”

“To perform from our home is a dream come true,” Miranda said of the performance in a statement prior to the ceremony. Grammy Awards’ producer Ken Ehrlich called Hamilton “the toast of Broadway” in an interview with ET. Stephen Colbert had the honor of introducing the cast performance of the show’s opening number live from New York.

Miranda previously won a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album for his Broadway debut In the Heights. Sherman, the album’s co-producer, also received a Grammy that year. In the Heights also received several Tony Awards.

Next up for Hamilton: Nominations for the 2016 Tony Awards will be announced live on May 3, with the awards presented at the Beacon Theatre in New York on Sunday, June 12.

Wesleyan hosted a sold-out benefit performance of Hamilton on Oct. 2, raising $1.6 million for financial aid. Read more.

Miranda ’02, Tatum ’75, Price to be Honorary Degree Recipients at Wesleyan’s 183rd Commencement

Wesleyan will honor three remarkable leaders in their fields with honorary degrees at the university’s 183rd Commencement on May 24, 2015. Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, an award-winning composer, lyricist, writer and actor, will present the Commencement Address. Wesleyan also will award honorary degrees to Beverly Daniel Tatum ’75, president of Spelman College and an expert in race relations and higher education, and Michael Price, the longtime executive director of Goodspeed Musicals.

Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 (Photo courtesy of linmanuel.com)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 (Photo courtesy of linmanuel.com)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02
Lin-Manuel Miranda is the Tony and Grammy-winning composer-lyricist of Broadway’s In the Heights, which received four 2008 Tony Awards, with Miranda receiving a Tony Award for Best Score, and a nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. In The Heights was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The show’s first incarnation was staged at the ’92 Theater at Wesleyan in 2000. Miranda is also the co-composer/co-lyricist of Broadway’s Bring it On: The Musical, which received a 2013 Tony nomination for Best Musical. His latest stage work is Hamilton, a musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, which had its world premiere at the Public Theater in New York City in 2015.

Along with composer Tom Kitt, Miranda won the 2014 Creative Arts Emmy

Miranda ’02, Kail ’99 Write Closing Rap for Tonys

This year’s Tony Awards ceremony televised on CBS on June 12 ended with a comedic rap number, performed by host Neal Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), which summarized the show’s events in less than three minutes.

The rap number was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 , the Tony Award-winning composer of musical In the Heights, and Thomas Kail ’99, the Tony Award-nominated director of that show. The duo came up with the rhymes while watching the show in the basement of Manhattan’s Beacon Theater, where the ceremony was held. Miranda called the closing number the “Tony speed-through.”

To read the lyrics Harris sang on the show, click on this Wall Street Journal article.

To watch the creation of the closing rap, with Miranda, Kail, Harris, and Tony Award winner Nikki M. James for The Book of Mormon, see below:

YouTube Preview Image

To see Harris performing the closing number on the Tony Awards, see below:

Peretz ’84 Hosts Kail ’99, Miranda ’02 Reception in Miami

Andy Peretz ’84, Thomas Kail ’99 and Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02.

The nationwide tour of the Tony award-winning Broadway musical In the Heights ended its run with a Wesleyan flourish.

Andy Peretz ’84, inspired by the Wesleyan on Broadway alumni events, began organizing an event in Miami to celebrate with the local Wesleyan community at the Arsht Center Theater.

In The Heights, created and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, was directed by Thomas Kail ’99, who agreed to conduct a talk for the alumni at a special reception at the Miami performance on April 2.

“What an amazingly articulate guy, so full of life,” says Peretz of Kail, who also directed Lombardi. Kail spent time with his host that day, talking about the collaborative process of turning Miranda’s one-time student play (performed in its first incarnation in the ’92 Theater) to the award-winner it is today.

Later that day, Kail gave Peretz another surprise: the news that Miranda had agreed to join the Wesleyan reception.

“It was indeed a unique experience to watch a Tony Award-winning play and then immediately afterward meet with the two people most responsible for the show’s creative distinctions,” Peretz says and adds. “Not lost on me was the unselfishness of Kail and Miranda in providing us with insight into the theatrical process – from both a creative and financial perspective.

“I truly believe that they offered themselves in this way because of their love of Wesleyan and sense of community. We were indeed very proud to be part of something so ‘Wesleyan.’”

Kail ’99 to Direct “The Wiz” in New York City

Thomas Kail '99

Thomas Kail '99

Thomas Kail ’99 who received a Tony Award nomination for his direction for the musical hit “In the Heights” (2008 Tony Award for best musical) on Broadway will stage the Encores! Summer Stars production of “The Wiz” this summer at City Center in New York City for a three-week run, June 12 to July 3. Kail will re-team with choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler who won a Tony for his work on “In the Heights.”

“The Wiz,” a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz with an African-American cast, won seven Tony Awards, including best musical, in 1975. The show has not been revived on Broadway recently, though sometimes productions at Encores! transfer to a Broadway theater (the long-running Broadway revival of “Chicago” began at Encores! as did the recent Broadway revival of “Gypsy”).

Kail directed the play “Broke-ology” last summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival which was well-reviewed.

Album with Score by Miranda ’02 Receives Grammy Nomination

Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 wrote the music and lyrics for In the Heights.

In the Heights, the Tony Award winner for Best Musical 2008, is one of five recordings nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Musical Show Album category. Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 wrote the music and lyrics for the show. The other Grammy-nominees include the soundtracks for Gypsy, The Little Mermaid, South Pacific and Young Frankenstein.

The nominees for the In the Heights album, released by Razor & Tie Entertainment/Ghostlight Records, include Kurt Deutsch, Alex Lacamoire, Andrés Levin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joel Moss and Bill Sherman ’02, producers, as well as Miranda as composer/lyricist.

The nominations for the 51st annual Grammy Awards were announced on Dec. 3. CBS will telecast the awards event on Feb. 8, 2009.