By Lucas Shim

The Mirror
Entertainment Editor

It was really cool. He didn’t speak. He didn’t sing. He went out there wearing jeans and a zip-up hoodie. He just sat down and said, ‘Alright, who has a question?’

Meeting the Mastermind Behind Hamilton

September 7, 2017

ENTERTAINMENT: Van Nuys High School students meet the creator of Hamilton at Panorama High School


“There’s a million things I haven’t done, just you wait.” – Alexander Hamilton

The students of San Fernando Valley can now cross one thing off that list — meeting a legendary writer of the century.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius playwright behind the hit-Broadway musical, Hamilton, gave a speech to high school students regarding civic engagement and his life experiences in a town-hall meeting hosted by Representative Tony Cárdenas at Panorama High School on Thursday, August 17.

The assembly consisted of about 1,000 students in total from 12 San Fernando Valley Schools, including our very own Van Nuys High School.

According to Ms. Arraña, the Performing Arts Magnet counselor, Cárdenas’ office sent an email to the school at the end of July, informing them about Miranda’s upcoming presentation and to select 40 students for a field trip, which was to be held on the first week of school.

Because of the sudden announcement, Ms. Arraña specified that they were also told to confirm the students before school starts; she decided to bring in the Vannaires, especially since they had been performing and working hard over the summer at school. She later posted the information on the Actors in Action Facebook page and on Instagram to get more students to fill up the rest of the 40 available spaces.

“It was really cool. He didn’t speak. He didn’t sing. He went out there wearing jeans and a zip-up hoodie.” said Ms. Arraña, “He sat down and said, ‘Alright, who has a question?’” Lin-Manuel Miranda stated at the beginning of the assembly.

Some of the questions asked revolved around what compelled him to write the play, how hard it was to enter the industry, and many other topics involving his business and past experiences.

“How did you get towards what you want to be?” Olivia Rodriguez, an alumni of Van Nuys High School, who previously starred as Belle in the Beauty of the Beast spring play last semester, asked.

Miranda answered by saying that no matter what you do, you have to be undeniable, to have the tenacity, the drive, and the willingness to get what you need to get done.

He asked Rodriguez his own question about where she was going for school. After telling him that she was going to the Berkeley School of Music, Miranda told her that she was already halfway there.

Miranda also discussed about his involvement with EduHam, the Hamilton Education Initiative.

In this program, students coming from low-income families are inspired to read historical texts and “bring history to life” by performing sequences related to Alexander Hamilton. In return, they are able to watch the Hamilton musical with tickets at a low cost.

Miranda also provided inspiring speeches about doing your best, following your dreams, and to never give up.

According to Ms. Arraña, when Miranda spoke with the Performing Arts students, he said, “Auditioning is your job. Getting the part; that’s just the icing of the cake. Your job is actually going through the audition process every single day.”

“Be undeniable. I think that was the biggest quote of the day. No matter who you are and what you could do, be undeniable,” says Ms. Arrana, inspired by his words.