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Lin-Manuel Miranda On ‘Hamilton,’ Success, Weird Requests

John Carucci, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The last year has proven to be an incredible journey for “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, culminating with a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations. It has also produced a best-selling cast album, and there’s a huge tour planned for 2017. The Tony-Award winner for “In the Heights” sat down with The Associated Press to talk about his “wild ride” and a weird request.

Photos: 2016 Tony Award Nominees

TATTOO ME!

“Hamilton” remains the toughest ticket to get for a Broadway show, and Miranda says people have come out of the woodwork with requests.

“The woodwork department has been working overtime,” he says.

So what about the strangest thing anyone has asked him to do?

“I’ve had fans say, ‘Can you write down this music phrase? I want it tattooed in your handwriting,’ which is a lot. I have terrible handwriting. You do not want this thing you think you want.”

BROADWAY MOVE

According to Miranda, it was important to keep the show off-Broadway long enough to intimately understand the production and fine-tune it.

“There was a lot of talk last year on ‘Go, transfer right away.’ But we knew that with another at-bat we could get more into it. I knew that with six months of doing the show off-Broadway that I would know a lot more of what worked and what didn’t. I had that experience with ‘In the Heights.’ We were off-Broadway,” Miranda said.

He also shared some advice.

“I recommend to every writer ever starring in your own show feeling the audiences reaction on a molecular level every night because I knew exactly what needed to be changed and exactly what needed to be clarified going into Broadway.”

WATCHING NOMINATIONS

Miranda turned the morning Tony announcements into a party, because his young son, Sebastian, is an early riser.

“We have a little kid, so we’re up early. A lot of my cast slept through it, but we were up early.”

Miranda invited his parents over, as well as his “In the Heights” collaborator Quiara Alegria Hudes for the festivities.

“We brewed a big pot of coffee, and we just sort of kept ticking off the nomination. My dad was making a list, and I was just sort of screaming every time I heard a name.”

Four of the shows 16 Tony nominations went to Miranda.

“It was really crazy. It sort of piled up slowly.”

INSPIRED BY ‘RENT’

Miranda likes the idea that “Hamilton” harkens back to the days when Broadway and popular music were united.

“Broadway music used to just be pop music,” Miranda said. “Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin — it was just music.”

“I remembered being really inspired when ‘Rent’ came out. I was a teenager and Jonathan Larson said pop music and theater music should be friends again. I have always agreed with that philosophy. I think great musical storytelling is great musical storytelling, regardless of genre and I think the fact that we’ve thrown so many genres in the pot, sort of allows for that to creep off of the arts page.”

NO RESTING

With buzz surrounding a show that Broadway has not seen in decades, Miranda insists that the accolades have not affected him, and for good reason.

“We can’t rest on our laurels. We have a show that’s 2 hours and 40 minutes with two spinning turntables inside the set. If you for a second stop to think, ‘Hey man, 16 nominations,’ you’re going to get hit in the head with a chair or you’re going to get kicked by a dancer.”

Instead, Miranda feels “the show is medicine,” and feels humbled performing “each performance from scratch.”

He’s keenly aware that regardless of how many performances the company has done, it’s the first time that a majority of the audience is seeing that particular one.

“That keeps you from getting too big for your britches and from being overwhelmed, because the work is so hard and so gratifying that it keeps you with a level head.”

For more Tony Awards coverage, click here.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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