Lin-Manuel Miranda Reflects on Breaking Stereotypes, His Rise to Fame

He imagined "Latinos not playing gang members."

ByJOHN PALACIO, ANDREA ISRAEL and KELLY MCCARTHY
December 21, 2016, 1:29 PM

— -- Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the award-winning musical "Hamilton," redefined the Broadway landscape in 2016 by breaking casting and cultural stereotypes.

"I really think a large part of me writing musicals was sort of trying to create the parts I'd like to see for myself,” Miranda told ABC News' Robin Roberts in an interview airing on the ABC News special, "Game Changers,". “The wonderful sort of net benefit of that is writing roles for Latinos, for people of color that weren't previously available."

Miranda grew up in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood, which has been a major source of inspiration and acted as a lens for his creative scope.

His first Tony Award-winning musical, "In the Heights," was based on a neighborhood bodega: a small corner store at the intersection of Dyckman Street and Seaman Avenue.

Roberts met up with Miranda in his neighborhood to see the places and to meet the people who spurred his creativity for his award-winning projects.

"I never think about the founders being in Manhattan," Miranda said walking around the neighborhood. "The fact that the first Cabinet dinner happened on 162nd street. All this incredible American history happened here," he added, referencing his own stamping ground.

"Hamilton," the off-the-charts Broadway sensation about the first secretary of treasury that Miranda brought to life on stage, has become a pop culture icon.

From critically acclaimed reviews by the first lady to international recognition, Miranda's production not only diversified performance, but took creative liberties to new limits.

For a show about politics, liberty and the foundation of the United States, his creation came during a year in which the nation seemed to need a new vision more than ever.

Miranda's father, Luis, a longtime social activist in New York City politics, had a great effect on his son's ability to shake things up.

"I turned Lin Manuel into a politician...I mean that there are politics and political change, which is what you do in your part of the world,” Luis said.

When it comes to the things he changed on stage with “Hamilton,” it was about, for Miranda, breaking out of the typecast.

"What you’re speaking to is the larger statement of having Latinos not playing gang members in a Broadway show,” he said

The writer, composer, lyricist and actor has grown immensely since his first TV job in production for HBO’s “The Sopranos.”

It has been a slow journey, "Writing my a-- of," he said, laughing.

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