Power Players

Lin-Manuel Miranda is happy his 'Hamilton' success happened 'a little later in my life'

Actor Leslie Odom, Jr. (L) and actor, composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (R) and cast of 'Hamilton' perform on stage during 'Hamilton' GRAMMY performance for The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Richard Rodgers Theater in New York City.
Theo Wargo | WireImage | Getty Images

If you haven't found massive success as a young person, that might be a good thing according to "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

"I am so grateful that the success of 'Hamilton' happened sort of a little later in my life," Miranda, 39, said at the American Express Big Future of Shopping Small event, a celebration of the 10th annual Small Business Saturday, in New York City on Thursday.

Miranda was in his mid-30s when the Broadway musical blew up, which isn't exactly old, but "I already knew who I was and who I wasn't," he said.

Hamilton debuted in 2015 (when Miranda was 35) for what was supposed to be a month-long limited run, but it became a phenomenon: In 2016 "Hamilton" won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, earned a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations and won 11 (Miranda won two personally), as well as a Grammy. Miranda received Kennedy Center Honors in 2018, and "Hamilton" tickets on Broadway still sell for hundreds of dollars each.

Though Miranda had already experienced success before "Hamilton" (he wrote and starred in the Tony- and Grammy-award winning 2008 Broadway play "In the Heights"), it soared to a new level. Miranda says it was his maturity that allowed him to stay true to himself while navigating the experience.

For example, "In the wake of 'Hamilton's' success, I got pitched a lot of stuff," Miranda said Thursday.

Miranda remembers one director who he "admires very much" pitching him a role in a car commercial to air during the Super Bowl.

"In this [ad], I would finish my [show] at the [Richard Rodgers Theatre], and I would throw my jacket over my shoulder and I would jump into my car and drive home in my car. And — the director made a great pitch — and I went, 'Oh wow, I sound cool in this commercial.'"

Despite the glamour — and presumably a sizable payday — Miranda turned down the opportunity.

"I went home to my wife and told her the meeting I had, and she said, 'Honey, we don't have a car. We take the train,'" says Miranda, who lives in New York City. "And I was like, 'You're right.'"

"I would laugh at me in that commercial," Miranda said. "I think it has to pass that smell test."

See also:

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You won't see another US history musical from me: Hamilton creator
You won't see another US history musical from me: Hamilton creator