Miranda grew up in a primarily Puerto Rican neighborhood in northern Manhattan (though he frequently visited his grandmother in Puerto Rico during summers), and as a theatre major at Wesleyan University, he helped found a hip-hop comedy troupe and wrote, directed, and acted in several musicals. After his graduation, he worked for several years on his first Broadway musical In The Heights, which went on to win a Tony Award for Best Musical. His work on all of these projects over the years helped to lead him to a sort of "domain expertise" that Simonton describes as one possible approach to understanding creative geniuses, laying the groundwork for the creativity that would lead to Hamilton.
While in the airport about to leave for a vacation from acting in In The Heights in 2008, around 10 years after his freshman year of college, Miranda decided to purchase a copy of Ron Chernow's comprehensive biography of Alexander Hamilton to read while away. After quickly finishing it, he immediately began work on developing the musical adaptation that would become Hamilton. Drawing again upon Simonton's explanation of the domain expertise
|Lin-Manuel Miranda reading Alexander Hamilton on|
that fateful vacation
Simonton, Dean Keith. Genius, creativity, and leadership: Historiometric inquiries. IUniverse, 1999.