Class of 2016 Gets Broadway Star

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is no stranger to the stage, but this May he’ll be detouring to one far from his usual Broadway stomping ground. The composer, lyricist, and lead actor of the hit musical Hamilton has been selected to give the keynote address at Penn’s 260th Commencement.

Miranda’s award-winning play, which fuses the energy of hip-hop with the dramatic biography of the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, makes its creator a fitting choice for a university that prides itself on bringing the passion and history of a founding father into the present day.

A 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award recipient, Miranda’s accomplishments in the arts are numerous. His first musical, In The Heights, won a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2009. Hamilton has been nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award—after racking up 10 Lortel Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, eight Drama Desk Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical, and an Obie for Best New American Play.

“Miranda is one of the most innovative and stunningly brilliant artistic voices of and for our time,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “He has accomplished nothing short of remaking the great American artistic form of musical theater and telling the history of our founding through the most creative, evocative, and thought-provoking contemporary lens.”

Miranda will receive an honorary doctorate of the arts at the ceremony, along with Hawa Abdi, Elizabeth Bailey, David Brooks, Renee Fleming, Sylvester James Gates Jr., Asma Jahangir, and Eric Kandel.

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