Tony Awards, a Pulitzer, “Star Wars”: Lin-Manuel Miranda has had a damn good year. With everything that’s so obviously gone swimmingly for him, it seems like few people think to ask him what the hardest thing about the megasuccess of “Hamilton” has been.
“That’s a good question,” he said during an interview he conducted for the cover story in Variety‘s 2016 Gotham Issue. He took a few moments to form a response.
“There were tough days,” he said at last. “There were days of fatigue. I think one of the toughest things was managing the attention and expectations of an exponentially increased public. I’m on Twitter, with 20,000 or 40,000 people following me prior to ‘Hamilton’ exploding, and now it’s a bajillion.” (It’s 808,000, as of Sept. 27.) “Your tweets to your friends become — Everything is a loudspeaker. Every tweet could become an article, and you see it happen in real time.”
“The way that manifests itself outside the theater got very tough towards the end,” he admitted. “I started to get very nervous about approaching the theater and leaving the theater. It got to the point where I couldn’t sign at the stage door, even though I love signing at the stage door. The secret exits in and out of the theater got to be very tough. And it’s not anyone’s fault. It’s like, well, fans are excited, but suddenly there are so many more that you’re creating an unsafe situation outside the theater. I knew I couldn’t come out, because whatever kid was in the front was going to get crushed by everyone pressing forward.”
Miranda ultimately has a sanguine sense of humor about all the new attention he gets in the twitterverse. “One of the weird things with the success of ‘Hamilton’ is people confer titles on you,” said. “Anytime I tweet something dumb, someone’s like, ‘Pulitzer winner!’ And I’m like: That doesn’t not give me the right to say dumb things too. I don’t stop being a person because I won a thing. ‘Here’s a MacArthur genius winner, and he’s tweeting about He-Man!'”
He continued, “I think the trap is in getting caught up in the importance of those titles and letting that make you think you’re important. I try very hard to fight against that. And you fight for the right to remain yourself. I have friends who are very happy to remind me that I’m myself. I am roasted by Tommy Kail [the director of ‘Hamilton’] every time I talk to him. And most of my friends. That’s why they’re my friends.”
He keeps all his awards on a shelf in a his apartment. “But you know what? My 11th grade math trophy is on my shelf next to my Grammy,” he said. “I’m just as proud of that. Because I got straight C’s in math all through high school.”