Lin-Manuel Miranda's Epic 2018: Another Grammy, A New Baby, 'Mary Poppins' & More MIlestones
The word busy doesn’t even begin to describe the kind of year multi-hyphenate superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda had in 2018. If it were up to Miranda to encapsulate the past 12 months, he’d probably blow us all away and draft something thoroughly insightful, funny, and heartfelt, naturally accented with a vast array of intricate rhymes and deep references to boot.
In lieu of Miranda’s handiwork, Billboard broke down his monumental year that included books, movies, awards, personal milestones, and everything in between. Raise a glass to your 2018, Lin.
January 28: A Grammy To Start the Year
It hardly took a month for Miranda to make 2018 special. At the 60th Annual Grammys -- held in his hometown of New York City -- Miranda took home the Grammy for best song written for visual media for his Moana track “How Far I’ll Go.” The win marked his third Gramophone trophy, but also served as sweet revenge after the song lost the Oscar for best original song in 2017.
February 2: Francisco Miranda Enters Stage Right
Lin-Manuel and wife Vanessa Nadal continued the beginning of 2018 on a high note with the birth of a baby boy, Francisco. Miranda announced the arrival of his second son via Twitter, and couldn’t help himself from framing Francisco’s birth in the form of stage directions: “Int. Hospital Room. Night. The screams reach a delirious crescendo. FRANCISCO MIRANDA enters...”
March 19: Doing His Part Against Gun Violence
As the country was continuing to reel from the tragic Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Miranda joined forces with fellow Broadway superstar Ben Platt for a charity track that benefited the March for Our Lives Foundation. It deftly combined Miranda’s Hamilton anthem “The Story of Tonight” with Platt’s Dear Evan Hansen showstopper “You Will Be Found” and was aptly titled “Found/Tonight.”
Doubling as a March Hamildrop (a monthly series of Hamilton-themed tracks Miranda launched in December 2017), the song served as a powerful statement of resiliency in the face of senseless violence. “They mobilized the youth of our nation and created a movement,” said Miranda of the Parkland students in a statement. “This is their moment. Not just for themselves, but for all of us. This song is my way of helping to raise funds and awareness for their efforts, and to say Thank You, and that we are with you so let’s keep fighting, together.” The pair also performed the track at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. on March 24.
April 4: Oh Shingle!
As spring kicked in, super-doer Miranda proved that that he’s still human when he contracted shingles. A famously painful rash caused by blisters, Miranda took to Twitter to fill fans in on his health, chronicling its progression. “Damn. I’ve got the worst migraine of my life right now,” he posted on April 4th. “Lemme get out of here, myrrh for my hot forehead, ow.” A day later, he announced the culprit: “Hey, cool story. This isn't a migraine, it's shingles! Caught it early, quarantined away from the baby, in a Phantom mask til further notice.”
June 1: Goatee Summer
A clip that needs no introduction, Lin-Manuel Miranda and his buddy Jimmy Fallon turned their Hamptons vacation into a hilarious bit about sporting goatees. Enjoy.
A post shared by Jimmy Fallon (@jimmyfallon) on
June 30: A Lullaby For Trying Times
Continuing his streak of activism in the face of injustice, Miranda let his voice be heard at the Washington D.C. rally dubbed Families Belong Together, in response to the Trump administration beginning to separate immigrant families from their children. Miranda did what he does best, singing for those in attendance. “There’s parents right now who can’t sing lullabies to their kids,” he said to the crowd. “We’re not going to stop until they can sing them to their kids again.”
July 7: An Ode to Fosse and Verdon
Miranda added another project to his plate, announcing a forthcoming biographical miniseries based on the life and times of Broadway legend Bob Fosse and his legendary wife/collaborator Gwen Verdon. Serving as a reunion of the Hamilton creative team, Miranda is producing the series alongside Ham director Tommy Kail, who will also take the helm for Fosse/Verdon’s pilot episode. Starring Sam Rockwell as Fosse and Michelle Williams as Verdon, the series was shot in New York and is set to premiere on FX this spring.
July 12: Curb Your Emmy Nom
Adding another awards benchmark to a resume chock-full of them, Miranda nabbed a nomination for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for his turn on Larry David’s HBO stalwart, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Sadly, he wound up losing out at the ceremony two months later to Katt Williams’ appearance on Atlanta.
July 18: Obama-Miranda Team-Up
In the months leading up to November’s midterm elections, Miranda was a strong force in getting the word out to vote. Case in point: he teamed up with former first lady Michelle Obama to help announce the launch of a voter registration campaign in an effort to get folks to the polls. Says Miranda in the spot, “I am not throwing away my opportunity to make my voice heard this November.”
July 19: A Boom of a Project
A passionate fan of stage legend Jonathan Larson, Miranda revealed that he'll make his directorial debut with a film version of Larsen’s early play Tick, Tick...Boom! for Imagine Entertainment. Miranda, who previously starred in an off-Broadway version of the show, gushed about the chance in a statement: “It was Tick, Tick…Boom! that solidified that drive in me to hone my own voice as a playwright,” he said. “To now have the opportunity to make my film directorial debut, in collaboration with the Larson Family and this incredible creative team, and to adapt a work I love so deeply, is a humbling privilege.”
July 22: Support For His Puerto Rican Peers
As Puerto Rico continued to pick up the pieces from 2017's catastrophic Hurricane Maria, Miranda -- who is of mostly Puerto Rican descent -- announced that he is helping establish a multimillion-dollar fund to boost the arts in the island. During a press conference, Miranda said he hopes the fund will grow to $15 million, including all proceeds from the Puerto Rico performance of Hamilton in January 2019.
August 20: Jolly Ol’ Jaunt
After filming Mary Poppins Returns in the UK in 2017, Miranda returned to the region to shoot a starring role in the upcoming BBC series His Dark Materials. Based on a fantasy novel series, its story focuses on a journey through parallel universes and features Miranda as a grand adventurer. He wrapped his scenes on October 10.
August 28: A Royal Affair
It’s not every day you get to hobnob with a real life prince and princess, but that’s just what Miranda did mere months after the latest Royal Wedding. On August 28th, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended a West End performance of Hamilton to raise funds for Harry’s Sentebale charity, which benefits those affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana. It was an evening drenched in irony, considering Harry is the real-life great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of King George III, Hamilton’s villainous character. Said Miranda of the experience on an an appearance on the UK’s Graham Norton: “I’m really glad he didn’t take it personally. We do take the piss a bit out of King George III.”
Sept 6: Surprise Sing-A-Long
Still overseas filming His Dark Materials, Miranda made the best of his downtime by giving some Cardiff students a thrill when he attended a monthly musical theater sing-along at a pub called Porter’s. Belting selections from both Hamilton and Cats, Miranda was invited via Twitter by music school teacher Neil Parker.
October 16: One(s) For the Books
Anyone who follows Miranda on Twitter knows that he’s a prolific tweeter who usually sends morning greetings and farewells at night. Meant to spread positivity (example: “Good morning. Do NOT get stuck in the comments section of life today. Make, do, create the things. Let others tussle it out. Vamos!”), the positive affirmations spurred an entire book titled, Gmorning, Gnight!, which Miranda released on October 16th.
November 12: He’ll Be Back
Gearing up for his comeback Hamilton role in the show’s January turn in Puerto Rico, Miranda chronicled the process throughout much of the later part of the year, from fittings to his process of memorizing his own songs again. “I have no agenda for Puerto Rico other than I want it to be proud of me,” he told the New York Times in December. “All my efforts here are just to help the island in the best way I know how.”
November 20: Three Cheers For Lin-Manuel (and New York)
Miranda was front-and-center for November’s grand Hamildrop with a stirring rendition of “Cheering For Me Now,” a track cut from Hamilton that doubles as an anthem in honor of New York City. Featuring music by John Kander, the song follows in the grand tradition of “New York State of Mind” and “New York, New York” as an ode to his beloved Big Apple with Miranda crooning: “I came here with nothing/Like hundreds before me and millions behind me.”
November 29: A Legacy, Officially Planted
According to Miranda’s Hamilton character, creating a legacy is a lot like “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” Fortunately he proved himself wrong when his feet and hands were immortalized forever with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On hand to help honor him were the afternoon’s featured speakers, Weird Al Yankovic and Rita Moreno, making for an emotional day for Miranda who considered the two his childhood heroes. Said Yankovic of Miranda during his emotional speech: “He’s gifted beyond words.”
November 29: Mary Poppins Returns Premieres
Proving the 29th of November as one of Miranda's most epic days of 2018, that night he also attended the world premiere of Mary Poppins Returns, which marked his first major role since leaving the cast of Hamilton. It was part of a month straight of promotion for the film (a highly anticipated sequel to the 1964 classic Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews) that hit theaters on December 19. And of course, he tweeted all the highlights.
December 2: The Highest Honor
As if Miranda’s year of accolades weren’t enough, he and his Hamilton team were given a special award as part of the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington DC alongside the likes of Cher and Phillip Glass. Perhaps it was Miranda’s father Luis who summed up the night the best: “I wish I could describe with words my heart's summersaults, my mind's imagery when I listened to @Lin_Manuel sing @kencen awards. But if I try, I will just cry. So i hope if you watched, you agree with me that he is one of a kind!” (The performances aired on CBS Dec. 26.)
December 6: One More Nomination to Cap Off 2018
As if the Kennedy Center honor, Grammy win and Emmy nod weren’t enough in 2018, Lin-Manuel was bestowed with a Golden Globe nomination for his role as lamplighter Jack in Mary Poppins. Upon hearing the news, Miranda tweeted: “Woke up to my phone leaping off the bedside table," he tweeted. "Grateful for the nom, grateful to the @goldenglobes, grateful to all of you."
December 20: Until Next Year...
Signing off of Twitter for 2018, Manuel posted a picture from the recording session of the final Hamildrop featuring cast member Chris Jackson, Ham collaborator Tommy Kail and none other than President Barack Obama, who is featured on the 44 Remix of “One Last Time.” “Gnight,” Miranda wrote after his renowned year. “See you in 2019!”
Gnight!— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 21, 2018
See you in 2019! pic.twitter.com/GZl4cxK6gO