Lin-Manuel Miranda promises Tony Awards host Ariana DeBose, an original actor in hamilton before his 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 phone interview with Deadline, without revealing details. “You couldn’t ask for a better host. Miranda noted that he attends the Tonys even though he “doesn’t have a horse in the running.” In large part, the evening will be about celebrating Broadway’s return from the devastation of Covid.
“We’re just rallying,” he said. “It’s like Job what theater has been through, so this will be an incredible gathering for the entire theater community.” The Omicron variant, which gained momentum in late 2021 at the start of the holiday season, was “overwhelming at a time when we were most dependent on tourist activities,” 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 battle 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 foster positive social change. Building on her theatrical roots, Miranda has amassed an increasingly solid body of films, with the past year seeing a peak level of activity. His original songs appeared in Disney’s Oscar-winning animation 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. Additionally, 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? …Little by little, we’re trying to create opportunities for artists of color.
Today, he said, there is a “wider network of former Miranda scholars – they all know each other” and this networking will ultimately be the legacy of the foundation.