Photo Flash: Lin-Manuel Miranda Visits Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Center

On Monday, September 26, 2016, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago was honored to welcome Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, to its West Loop facility, the Hubbard Street Dance Center, located at 1147 West Jackson Boulevard. More than 160 invited guests included students and families participating in Hubbard Street's Youth Dance Programs; members of Hubbard Street's Junior Ensemble, Hubbard Street 2 and the artists of its world-renowned main company; staff members and special guests; individual and foundation supporters of its Education Programs; and Season 38 Spotlight Ball attendees who made donations at the organization's annual gala.

Sara Albrecht, Chair of Hubbard Street's Board of Directors, welcomed everyone to Studio A, "one of our eight studios, which house our dancers, our Youth Dance Programs, our nationally recognized Parkinson's Project and The Autism Project, and the Lou Conte Dance Studio," she said. "Thanks to your generosity at our gala, we can continue to grow these important programs, both here and in Chicago Public Schools."

"For some of you here tonight, the connection between Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hubbard Street might not be entirely clear," added Suzanne Appel, Hubbard Street's Director of External Affairs and host for the evening's conversation. "But we're hoping to illuminate that for you tonight, in discussing arts education and how dance changes lives."

"The impact of arts education on my career is complete and total, and it saved my life," Lin-Manuel Miranda confirmed. Recounting his first experiences in musical theater with teachers Barbara Ames and Robert Sherman at Hunter Elementary School in New York City, Miranda recalled the many roles he played in a marathon, student-led sixth-grade production borrowing characters and songs from classic shows such as Bye Bye Birdie, Fiddler on the Roof and Peter Pan. "I played Conrad Birdie, a cowhand in Oklahoma!, a son in Fiddler, Captain Hook, Bernardo in West Side Story - natch - and an Addaperle backup in the Wizard of Oz-slash-The Wiz," Miranda explained. "This is a very lethal dose of musical theater at a very young age," he observed, "and I thought, I am doing this for the rest of my life, if they will let me."

"I hope that there are many young people who Hubbard Street reaches," replied Appel, "for whom their dance experiences are also setting them up, either for lives as artists, or for however else they decide to use what they've learned through dance."

Additional subjects and topics covered during the course of Appel and Miranda's one-hour conversation included:

• Community engagement during the Chicago run of Hamilton: An American Musical, about which Miranda noted: "As soon as Hamilton opened at the Public [Theater in New York City], the question after the show was always, 'How are you gonna get more kids here? How are you gonna get more kids here?' So we began planning for that very early, and we partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Gilder Lehrman Institute [of American History], to create this program we call #EduHam." Through discounted ticket offers and dedicated student matinées, "which are the best shows that we do," added Miranda, "20,000 eleventh-grade students studying U.S. history will see Hamilton this year." Until now only available to students in New York City-area schools, the #EduHam program will be duplicated for Chicago, said Miranda, "and we're finding our local partners in your schools as we speak. As long as Hamilton is on tour in a town, there will be a bunch of students seeing the show in that town."

• Miranda's personal history with and experiences in dance, which began with "Puerto Rican Dance Training 101," he explained, "which is my father, Luis Miranda, telling me, 'You're gonna learn to salsa, or you're gonna get out of the house.'" During his years in high school, "While everyone was playing racquetball and football, I was doing the foxtrot and do-si-do. I was one of three boys in the [social dance] class, thinking, Why is anyone doing anything else? This is awesome!" While attending Wesleyan University, where Miranda and Appel first met as undergraduates, "I took Ballet 1 and Ballet 2 with [Patricia L. Beaman]...I was always taking dance classes concurrently with everything else I was doing." Miranda spoke appreciatively of the "mind-altering experience" working with acclaimed choreographers Andy Blankenbuehler and Luis Salgado on his first Broadway musical, In the Heights, and subsequent projects.

• Writing characters for the stage and his creative process, about which Miranda explained, "I don't know any other way to write except to give every character I'm writing every bit of humanity that I have, and to find my way in. It has to be as honest as possible, because I don't know how to write mustache-twirling bad guys - you won't find them in my work. They've always got their reasons, even if they're messing up, or even if they're doing something that hurts others."

During the question-and-answer session which concluded the evening, Hubbard Street Dancer Alicia Delgadillo asked Miranda, "If resources and time were limitless, what would you be doing right now?"

"I need time to be finite," Miranda responded. "I need finite resources. Restrictions help you be creative, as anyone who's good at chess will tell you, as anyone who's written a haiku or a sonnet will tell you. The form unlocks the work."

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an award-winning composer, lyricist and performer, as well as a 2015 MacArthur Fellow. He wrote the book, music and lyrics for Hamilton: An American Musical, in addition to originating the title role; Hamilton opened with a sold-out off-Broadway run at The Public Theater in 2015 and, soon after, moved to Broadway's Richard Rogers Theatre. Hamilton was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and earned a record-breaking 16 nominations for Tony Awards, winning 11 including two for Miranda himself, for Book and Score of a Musical. The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, and Miranda and Hamilton won the 2016 Drama League Awards for, respectively, Distinguished Performance and Outstanding Production of a Musical. For its engagement at The Public Theater, Hamiltonreceived a record-breaking ten Lucille Lortel Awards, as well as three Outer Critic Circle Awards, eight Drama Desk Awards, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best New Musical, and an Off-Broadway Theater "Obie" Award for Best New American Play. Material from Hamilton was previewed at the White House during its first-ever Evening of Poetry & Spoken Word in 2009; at Lincoln Center Theater's 2012 American Songbook Series; and during New York Stage and Film's 2013 Powerhouse Theatre Season at Vassar College.

Miranda's first Broadway musical, In the Heights, received four 2008 Tony Awards including Best Orchestrations, Best Choreography and Best Musical, with Miranda receiving a Tony Award for Best Score, as well as a nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Off-Broadway, In the Heights received nine Drama Desk Award nominations including Best Music and Best Lyrics, and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. In the Heights also won the Lucille Lortel Award and Outer Critic Circle Award for Best Musical, Miranda received an "Obie" Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for his work on the show, its Original Broadway Cast Album received a 2009 Grammy Award, and it was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. In 2016, Miranda won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music, for London's original production of In The Heights.

Miranda is the co-composer (with Tom Kitt) and co-lyricist (with Amanda Green) of Broadway's Bring It On: The Musical, nominated for Best Musical at the 2013 Tony Awards, and for Best Lyrics at the 2013 Drama Desk Awards. The Original Broadway Cast recording of Bring It On: The Musical was released by Sh-K-Boom Records in 2012. Miranda contributed new songs to the revival of Stephen Schwartz's Working, and worked with Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim on a Spanish-language revival of West Side Story on Broadway in 2009. In 2014, Miranda and Tom Kitt received an Emmy Award for their song "Bigger," performed at the 67th Annual Tony Awards.

For his work as an actor, Miranda received a 2007 Theater World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance, the 2007 Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Male Performance courtesy of Actors' Equity Foundation for In the Heights, and the ASCAP Foundation's Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award. Miranda played Charlie Kringas in the 2012 City Center Encores! production ofMerrily We Roll Along, and he can be heard on the 2012 Cast Recording released by PS Classics. He also appeared as Jonathan in the 2014 City Center Encores! Off-Center production of tick, tick... BOOM!

Miranda is the youngest person to receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Yeshiva University in its 123-year history, and he has been given a medal of honor by the National Arts Club, founded in 1898 by Charles De Kay, literary and art critic for The New York Times. He serves as a council member for the Dramatists Guild of America, as a board member for Young Playwrights Inc., and was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to New York City's Theater Subdistrict Council in 2015. He is also a co-founder and member of Freestyle Love Supreme, a hip-hop improv group which has toured the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; comedy festivals in Aspen, Melbourne and Montréal; and which now performs in New York City. Freestyle Love Supreme's eponymous television series premiered on Pivot TV in 2014.

Miranda has lent his voice to the audiobook recordings of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and he provided the voice of Zak for The Polar Bears, an animated short film produced by Ridley Scott for the Coca-Cola Company. His film and television credits include The Electric Company, Sesame Street, The Sopranos, House, Modern Family, Do No Harm, Smash, How I Met Your Mother, Inside Amy Schumer, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, 200 Cartasand Walt Disney Animation Studios' Moana. He received his BA from Wesleyan University in 2002, and lives with his wife, son and their dog in New York City.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's core purpose is to bring artists, art and audiences together to enrich, engage, educate, transform and change lives through the experience of dance. Celebrating Season 39 in 2016-17, under the artistic leadership of Glenn Edgerton, Hubbard Street continues to innovate, supporting ascendant creative talent while presenting repertory by internationally recognized living artists. Hubbard Street has grown through the establishment of multiple platforms alongside the Lou Conte Dance Studio - now in its fifth decade of providing a wide range of public classes and pre-professional training - while extensive Youth, Education, Community, Adaptive Dance and Family Programs keep the organization deeply connected to its hometown. Visit hubbardstreetdance.com for artist profiles, touring schedules and much more.

high res photos

Photo Flash: Lin-Manuel Miranda Visits Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Center
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, with Director of External Affairs Suzanne Appel, far left, Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton, far right, members of Hubbard Street 2 and the artists of Hubbard Street’s world-renowned main company.

Photo Flash: Lin-Manuel Miranda Visits Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Center
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, with members of Hubbard Street 2 and the artists of Hubbard Street’s world-renowned main company.

Photo Flash: Lin-Manuel Miranda Visits Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Center
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, with Hubbard Street Executive Director Jason D. Palmquist, left, and Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton, at the Hubbard Street Dance Center in Chicago.

Photo Flash: Lin-Manuel Miranda Visits Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Center
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, with Suzanne Appel, Hubbard Street’s Director of External Affairs, at the Hubbard Street Dance Center in Chicago.

Photo Flash: Lin-Manuel Miranda Visits Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Center
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, in conversation with Suzanne Appel, Hubbard Street’s Director of External Affairs, at the Hubbard Street Dance Center in Chicago.Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, with Suzanne Appel, Hubbard Street’s Director of External Affairs, at the Hubbard Street Dance Center in Chicago. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

Photo Flash: Lin-Manuel Miranda Visits Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Center
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, in conversation with Suzanne Appel, Hubbard Street’s Director of External Affairs, at the Hubbard Street Dance Center in Chicago.

Photo Flash: Lin-Manuel Miranda Visits Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Center
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, in conversation with Suzanne Appel, Hubbard Street’s Director of External Affairs, at the Hubbard Street Dance Center in Chicago.

Photo Flash: Lin-Manuel Miranda Visits Chicago's Hubbard Street Dance Center
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and original star of Hamilton: An American Musical, in conversation with Suzanne Appel, Hubbard Street’s Director of External Affairs, at the Hubbard Street Dance Center in Chicago.

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