Lin-Manuel Miranda: From Broadway’s ‘Hamilton’ to Hollywood’s ‘Moana’

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An EGOT is the Mount Rushmore of entertainment awards and Lin-Manuel Miranda is ¾ of the way there. He won Tonys and Grammys for In The Heights and Hamilton. He won an Emmy for the 67th Tony Awards show. For good measure, he won a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Genius Grant. With all of those trophies on your bookshelf, what do you do? You go after the Oscar of course. I don’t want to count the chickens, or course, but Miranda might be on the fast track to completing his EGOT after writing the songs for Moana.

For centuries, the greatest sailors in the world masterfully navigated the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, 3,000 years ago, their voyages stopped for a millennium – and no one knows exactly why. The latest from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Moana, tells the story about an adventurous teenager who is inspired to leave the safety and security of her island on a daring journey to save her people. Inexplicably drawn to the ocean, Moana (newcomer Auliʻi Cravalho) convinces the mighty demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) to join her mission, and he reluctantly helps her become a wayfinder like her ancestors who sailed before her.

Together, they voyage across the open ocean on an action-packed adventure, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills her quest and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Moana is directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) and features music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina (Speed, Twister, Tarzan, Planes) and one of the most successful Pacific Island musicians of all time, Opetaia Foa‘i.

Miranda has written two of Broadway’s most recent blockbusters and Moana is predicted to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the 2016 holiday movie season. He recently talked about the creative process between the filmmakers and musicians.

The Moana soundtrack might be the most anticipated soundtrack of the year and critics have been vocal in their praise. The songs might resonate because the creative team were on the same page thematically.

“To be able to wayfind or navigate, you literally have to keep your home in your mind so you know where you’re going. Literally, there are no maps, no compasses. You have to be able to chart your position by the stars. And you always have to remember where you’re coming from. To me, that’s such a metaphor for what we aspire to do in real life. If we never forget where we came from, that will always help guide our way.”

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Frederick Mintchell

Frederick is a featured writer for Morning Ticker, where this post originally appeared.

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