Hamilton Author Lin-Manuel Miranda's Inspiring Commencement Speech at University of Pennsylvania

Posted on May 18, 2016

Lin-Manuel Miranda giving commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania

Lin-Manuel Miranda gave a fascinating commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania on May 16th, where he was also awarded a Doctor of Arts. The writer and star of the Broadway smash Hamilton talked to the graduates about how important stories are and how you approach your own story is crucial for creativity. Hamilton, the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton set to rap music, just picked up an unheard of 16 nominations for Tony Awards and was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The Provost of the school was so inspired by having Miranda there that he actually rapped his intro, which was pretty hilarious. It cracked up Miranda who referred to him as "MC Provost" in his thank yous. Miranda talked about the importance of integrity as an artist and writer and told the story of how he had to delay getting his first project produced because of all the severe changes the producer wanted to make to his story. (The project was the Tony Award-winning The Heights which is playing in London now.)

Miranda said, "The simple truth is this: Every story you choose to tell, by necessity, omits others from the larger narrative. One could write five totally different musicals from Hamilton’s eventful, singular American life, without ever overlapping incidents. For every detail I chose to dramatize, there are ten I left out."

He illustrated his point, saying, "This act of choosing -- the stories we tell versus the stories we leave out—will reverberate across the rest of your life. Don’t believe me? Think about how you celebrated this senior week, and contrast that with the version you shared with the parents and grandparents sitting behind you."

You can read the full transcript of his very entertaining speech here. Take a look:



Image: YouTube/University of Pennsylvania

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