Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known for the creation of Hamilton, but that musical followed on another very well received Broadway show with In the Heights. While Hamilton technically made it to the screen first, both are now available for fans to see the creative work of Lin-Manuel Miranda, and both are available to show people just what sort of work that Miranda is capable of producing at four o'clock in the morning.
That's because Lin-Manuel Miranda says that he created the finale of both shows, Hamilton and In the Heights, in pretty much the exact same way. In both cases he still didn't have an ending to the show on the last day of workshops, but then woke up early that morning with an idea. In the case of In the Heights, Miranda reveals on Twitter that he ultimately wanted to hear a solo from Janet Dacal, who was playing Carla, after having played every other female character through the early life of the show. Miranda says putting the final piece together he cried quite a bit.
Lin-Manuel Miranda jokes that he's always doing his homework on the bus, but the fact that these two shows came together so late is likely more a function of the fact that these shows are always a moving target. From workshops to preview performances Broadway shows are always changing and adapting. Songs can be added and subtracted quite late in the game if the audience isn't responding the way that everybody hopes. Miranda even makes reference to the fact that the character of Carla didn't even exist early in the show's life.
One can only imagine the stress that Lin-Manuel Miranda was feeling as the final day of the workshop was approaching and he didn't have an end to the show. And yet, he was able to find the solution, and in the case of both Hamilton and In the Heights, that ending works. It seems that Miranda works well under pressure, which means he'll probably never learn not to "do his homework on the bus" as when he does, great things come of it.
The ending of Hamilton specifically is something that people still talk about. Not only does include an amazing performance by Philippa Soo, but there's a mysterious quality to it and fans are still debating what the ending all means. In the Heights may be a bit more straightforward, but it's no less impressive. It's a great way to end the story and a great song, and after seeing it, it's difficult to see the show or the film ending any other way.
If Lin-Manuel Miranda writes anymore Broadway shows, it seems likely he'll be in for another 4 AM wakeup call. However, when it happens, we can rest assured it's going to be something special.