How keeping a promise brought Broadway superstar to visit Bluey in Brisbane

There’s not many awards he hasn’t won for his groundbreaking musical theatre work, and now Lin-Manuel Miranda has shown he keeps his promises too.

Mar 06, 2023, updated Mar 07, 2023
Hamilton writer Lin-Manuel  Miranda joined the Brisbane cast of the Broadway super show to keep a long-held promise. (image: Supplied)

Hamilton writer Lin-Manuel Miranda joined the Brisbane cast of the Broadway super show to keep a long-held promise. (image: Supplied)

The Tony, Grammy, Emmy, Olivier and Pulitzer Prize winning creator came to Brisbane to watch the Australian company perform Hamilton – his worldwide musical juggernaut that combines jazz, hip hop, R&B and Broadway musical styles to tell the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton.

He also made a visit to Brisbane’s Ludo Studio where the Australian children’s show phenomena Bluey is made, for a guest appearance on the show.

Lin-Manuel Miranda was delightfully frank giving insights into why he came to Australia now and his song-writing process.

He said while Covid threw his initial plans to visit the Australian cast into chaos, even forcing their auditions for Hamilton onto zoom, he could not walk away from his commitment to meet the cast and see the show as soon as he could.

“Honestly the timing was as soon as I could make it work,” Miranda said.

“I think you guys know there was a moment during the Global Pandemic when Australia was the only company of Hamilton running in the world, and that was a real beacon of hope to our actors and our other companies that theatre would come back and we would be able to one day hopefully put on the show again.

“But it was also harder to visit. You had a 14 day quarantine and you had to really commit a kind of time I didn’t yet have. Because during 2020 I was writing Encanto and editing, Tick, Tick, Boom. And so this has really been the soonest I can see, and I made a promise to see the Australian company while it was still in Australia and they’re leaving soon. So I came as soon as I could.”

InQueensland asked Lin-Manuel Miranda about the significance of having a First Nations Indigenous person – Callan Purcell – in one of the lead roles in Hamilton’s Brisbane run.

Miranda said he was deeply moved by Purcell’s interpretation of Aaron Burr.

“I think that what I love about the productions that have gone beyond the United States is that we are always looking for as diverse a crew of storytellers to tell the story as possible,” he said.

“The diversity that we find in Australia is different from anywhere else. And so that history then becomes absorbed into the crew of storytellers telling this particular story.

“And he’s (Callan Purcell) just so fantastic. His One Last Time made me cry, and it was a joy getting to know him a little better after the show. So that’s also the fun of it. It’s always just trying to find the best storytellers we can.”

Miranda went on stage to thank the cast and the audience after Hamilton’s Saturday night performance.

Hamilton’s Australian producer Michael Cassel said it was wonderful watching the audience’s response as they realised Lin-Manuel Miranda was walking in to take his seat before the show at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre on Saturday night.

“You could hear everyone saying `it’s Lin-Manuel Miranda!’, the energy was incredible,” Cassel said.

“The performers absolutely lifted their performance in response too, it blew the roof off!”

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Miranda said in the press conference that he was so moved by the Australian show that he completely forgot the speech he had planned for that moment.

“I knew I was going to go on stage and thank everybody for coming last night. And I had a whole really pretty nice speech planned, forgetting that I have to watch the show too,” he said.

“When I watched that (final) number it comes back to me that just the labour pains of having to write it.

“I’m very deadline based as a writer. It was the morning of a workshop and we were going to be performing it in front of trusted friends and collaborators, and I hadn’t written the last song yet.

“So I woke up at 4 in the morning with the book and just all of the things Eliza did in the remaining 50 years of her life. And I would write one sentence and have a cry, and then I would write another sentence and I would cry. And then I got to the orphanage and I cried again.

“And I know sometimes people get misty-eyed at the end of the show, but they didn’t cry as hard as I did.”

Miranda, who has Puerto Rican heritage, also broke down how his vision for musicals has evolved.

“I began writing musicals because I didn’t see roles for myself in musicals. I was in love with this art form. And at the same time, I knew I didn’t dance well enough to play Bernardo or one of the Sharks. That’s kind of all there was for Puerto Rican guys in musical theatre,” he said.

“It’s just what there was, what existed. And so I really began writing my first show In The Heights out of this sort of desire to write what was missing and also represent my neighbourhood in a way that I didn’t see it portrayed in mainstream media.

“And so the amazing side effect of that, and with Hamilton, I realise that I’m trying to create opportunities in my shows. The concept of this piece was we are living 200 some odd years past when this story was told. And the country looks very different than it did then.

“We get to tell the story with all its messiness. It also just gets us new stories. That’s the other exciting part of it, is that to invite more people into the room means to invite new stories and to invite new narratives, and that’s really exciting.”

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy