Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Path to Stardom Passes through Connecticut

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WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The cultural phenomenon that is “Hamilton” has fascinated the nation.

The life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, told through a mixture of rap and traditional Broadway score.

But it’s the work of its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda that is truly revolutionary.

Miranda also created “In the Heights” about the Washington Heights community in New York, using hip-hop and rap to weave together stories of struggle, strength and hope.

He graduated from Wesleyan in 2002.

In 2005, it was another defining stop in Connecticut.

“Right here in this simple barn. We do all of our musicals in this space. Musicals like “In the Heights,” said Preston Whiteway, Executive Director, Board Chairman, and Founder of the O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford.

The Eugene O’Neill theater center gave Miranda his first professional job, developing “In the Heights”.

Executive director Preston Whiteway knew something remarkable was happening.

“In the Heights” felt magical, electricity was in the air when that piece was performing and rehearsing,” said Whiteway.

The artists would hold salsa parties at night to blow off steam.

Since then, Miranda’s impact on Broadway and theater is as dramatic as his performances.

Award after award rolls in.

“Hamilton” won eleven Tony’s including best musical, along with the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

“The sheer brilliance of the production of Lin’s words and music adapting very current music styles to tell a story and make that story new again,” said Whiteway.

He is also nominated this year for writing the song “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s “Moana”.