CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts

‘Hamilton’ in Van Nuys?

On Aug. 17 in the Panorama High School auditorium, schools all around the LAUSD district came together for a 30-minute question and answer session with the celebrated composer and playwright.

Have you ever wondered how the musical genius Lin Manuel Miranda drew inspiration for the popular musical, and former CHAMPS show, “In The Heights?” How about his favorite food?

Pre-selected questions were asked from all the schools in attendance. Questions ranged from Miranda’s favorite food, to mostly centering around the writing process of “In The Heights,” which was also put on at CHAMPS three years ago.

To Miranda, “In The Heights” is not just a play, it is a reincarnation of his experience growing up in Upper Manhattan, New York in the ‘80s.

This amazing opportunity would not have been possible without the Office of Congressman Tony Cárdenas, who is also the parent of a former CHAMPS student.

“I truly think that Lin Manuel is a genius,” Cárdenas said.

Cárdenas’ staff worked tirelessly, along with the gracious students and faculty at Panorama to set this event up. Not only was the congressman in attendance at the event, Miranda’s parents, Luz and Luis Manuel Miranda were there as well.

“I think it [diversity] inspires people who I don’t have to look a certain way, that I don’t have to have an accent, I can be a woman, I can be transgender. That should not stop me from living the life I dream of living,” said Cárdenas.

The importance of immigrants in America is a common theme throughout “Hamilton,” as seen in the choice of cast for roles like George Washington, Aaron Burr or Hamilton himself. The pride and dedication of immigrant families is something both Miranda and Cárdenas are familiar with.

“I grew up under an immigrant household. Even though we [Lin Manuel Miranda and Tony Cardenas] grew up here, we were brought up by immigrant parents,” Cárdenas said. “Just the other day, I bought a bunch of tickets to ‘Hamilton,’ and just a few days ago, I was able to invite a diverse group of folks of every color, every race. I got a chance to talk to them afterwards, and every single one of them thought that it was the best play they had ever seen. I cried, some said. And these are people of all colors and all ages.”

The world is in love with Miranda, and rightly so, for his love for students and education truly shines through. The anticipation before Miranda took the stage could be felt throughout the entirety of the auditorium. Truly demonstrating his lax nature, the first words out of Miranda’s mouth were “Yo, yo, yo!”

Followed by a mix between deafening screams and excitement filled the air that Thursday afternoon, CHAMPS students will surely never forget the moment they heard Miranda speak. An inspiration to some and a role model to others, Miranda delighted the audience with his wit and personable nature, leaving a remarkable impact on the students attending.