Lin-Manuel Miranda Shares the Impact of Seeing Rent for the First Time | Playbill

Broadway News Lin-Manuel Miranda Shares the Impact of Seeing Rent for the First Time In musical theater, "the truth pops out," the Tony Award winner says.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Presley Ann/Getty Images for Netflix

The Moth released a timely video the week, as Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his directorial debut for Tick, Tick...Boom!, in which the Tony Award winner shares the impact of seeing Jonathan Larson's musical Rent for the first time.

"It was January 16, 1997, and my girlfriend Meredith had surprised me with tickers to see Rent for my seventeenth birthday," Miranda shared. "This is like original cast, first year Rent. And we go up to the last row of the mezzanine of the Nederlander Theatre, and my mind is blown. Meredith and I are what you would call in high school theater kids. You know our kind, you've heard us warming up, you've seen our silly games. You make fun of us, but we know something you don't know."

He then goes on to describe his connection to one of the characters: "The moment that show started I was like, "Oh, I'm Marc." I was the kid who carried the camcorder to school. I was the kid who had a camera up instead of actually hanging out with my friends," he said. But then Roger calls Marc out on such actions, saying he hides behind his camera and can't make genuine connections. Miranda felt called out, in the best way, by Larson's words.

"And that's when I went from being a fan of musicals to trying to write my first musical," Miranda said. He wrote his first musical in high school and the rest is history.

READ: Go Inside the New York Premiere of Tick, Tick… Boom! With Lin-Manuel Miranda, Andrew Garfield, and More

This story was originally recorded on June 30, 2021 at a Moth Mainstage show at United Palace in Washington Heights, presented by global storytelling organization The Moth, in partnership with Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA).

Each Moth show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the events dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique experience for the audience. The theme of Miranda's show was "When You're Home," a nod to a song from his Tony-winning musical In the Heights.

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