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time 100 2016 Lin-Manuel Miranda
Ben Hassett for TIME

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Apr 19, 2016

So much has been said about Hamilton, I assume you know this already: the musical's embracing of history and rhythm, race and rhyme, melody and passion is an actual stunning event. Tickets are impossible to get for good reason: even in this age of ubiquitous hyperbole, it can safely be said that Hamilton is one of the best things—not just theatrical events—you'll ever see.

Lin-Manuel Miranda conceived, wrote and stars in this breakthrough masterpiece, cementing his place as one of the most miraculous creative minds of our time. Like Alexander Hamilton, Miranda is a powerful reminder that greatness comes from unlikely places. His Puerto Rican parents' collection of Broadway-musical records was as strong an influence during his New York City upbringing as the hip-hop he would come to love. There is no recipe for genius, but one can see the disparate elements that Miranda has miraculously seized and synthesized, embraced and celebrated, to create something profoundly moving and wholly original. He has redefined the musical and made us see anew the origins of the remarkable experiment called democracy.

Knowing the man, experiencing his exuberance and dazzle up close, is as delightful as the show itself. His wit would be intimidating if not for his natural and infectious charm. Somehow he is as generous, collaborative and lovable as he is innovative and brilliant. He and his wife of five years Vanessa Nadal (a scientist and lawyer—yes, scientist and lawyer) have a 1-year-old son. In other words, this young man is still in his first act. It's thrilling to consider how lucky we are to be in his audience, anticipating his next concoction, with his Hamilton's promise echoing in our heads: "And there's a million things I haven't done, but just you wait ... Just you wait."

Abrams is a writer, producer and director, most recently of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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