Lin-Manuel Miranda promises that Tony Awards host Ariana DeBose, an original cast member in Hamilton before her Oscar win for West Side Story will have “a doozy of an opening number” kicking off Sunday night’s show.
“There will be dancing,” he predicted in a telephone interview with Deadline, without revealing specifics. “You couldn’t ask for a better host.” Miranda noted that he is attending the Tonys even though he “doesn’t have a horse in the race.” In large part, the night will be about celebrating Broadway’s return from the devastation of Covid.
“We’re just rallying,” he said. “It is Job-like what theater has gone through, so this will be an incredible rally for the whole theater community.” The Omicron variant, which gathered steam at the end of 2021 just as the holiday season was beginning was “crushing at a tme when we most depending on tourist business,” Miranda noted.
The interview came two weeks after Miranda had to skip a gala in his honor at the Greenwich International Film Festival in Connecticut due to his own bout with Covid, from which he has recovered.
The playwright and filmmaker received the Changemaker Award, which GIFF gives to artists who have used their public platform and the medium of film to further positive social change. Branching out from his theater roots, Miranda has assembled an increasingly robust body of film work, with last year seeing a peak level of activity. His original songs appeared in Disney’s animated Oscar winner Encanto; he directed Netflix’s Oscar-nominated musical tick … tick … BOOM! And he also appeared in and produced the big-screen version of his breakthrough musical In The Heights.
At the gala in Greenwich, Jimmy Fallon accepted the award on Miranda’s behalf. Jessica Darrow, who was the voice of Luisa Madrigal in Encanto, sang “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton, whose former cast members Warren Egypt Franklin and Renée Elise Goldsberry also performed. In addition, Goldberry also had a conversation about The Miranda Family Foundation with Luis Miranda.
In the interview, Miranda said the foundation “started very organically” after Hamilton became a once-in-a-lifetime commercial juggernaut. “A combination of good luck and incredible hard work got me through the doors,” he said. “So our question was, ‘How do you widen those doors behind you?’ … Piece by piece, we’re trying to create opportunities for artists of color.”
Today, he said, there is a “broader alumni network of Miranda Fellows – they all know each other” and that networking will ultimately be the foundation’s legacy.