Create and star in a blockbuster hip-hop musical, and you get to do pretty much anything you want. For Lin-Manuel Miranda, the playwright and compos
Create and star in a blockbuster hip-hop musical, and you get to do pretty much anything you want. For Lin-Manuel Miranda, the playwright and composer behind Hamilton and In the Heights, that means starring in the sequel to a hallowed Disney classic.
In Mary Poppins Returns, Miranda takes on the role of Jack the lamplighter — an apprentice to Bert, the character immortalized by Dick Van Dyke in the original 1964 film. Though he’s best known for his auteur work, Miranda says it was his dream to be offered a part in someone else’s musical.
«It’s the fruit of the harvest,» Miranda says. «I started writing musicals because I desperately wanted a life in musical theater. I don’t have the ballet chops to pull off Paul in A Chorus Line or Bernardo [in West Side Story] — and if you’re a Puerto Rican dude, that’s what you get in the canon.»
Miranda spoke with NPR’s Audie Cornish about finding his place in a new Mary Poppins universe, and why the involvement of director Rob Marshall is the No. 1 reason he said yes to the role. Hear the radio version at the audio link, and read on for an edited transcript.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity .
Audie Cornish: I was reading that your favorite song from the original Mary Poppins movie — maybe not favorite, maybe you have a mixed relationship with it — is » Feed the Birds .»
Lin-Manuel Miranda: [ Laughing] «Openly hostile» is probably my relationship to it as a child.

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