Hamilton: Brought To You By A NYC High School Teacher
Back in the 90’s, Irv Steinfink was a High School teacher at the prestigious Hunter College High School (ranked as the #1 public High School in the country by The Wall Street Journal). Lin-Manuel Miranda was his student in his American History course and it’s possible that Steinfink was the one who got Miranda initially interested in Hamilton.
Irv Steinfink, now 72, told Newsweek he assigned a research paper but Miranda didn’t have a clue on what subject he would write about.
So, Steinfink suggested to the then “quiet” 11th grader Lin-Manuel Miranda to check out Alexander Hamilton and his duel with Aaron Burr. He did, wrote a paper on the founding father, got an A, and the rest is, well (rimshot!) history.
And with that initial seed planted, Miranda would years later go on to read Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton eventually writing what would be the Broadway smash play’s first raps.
Miranda, a recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony, Grammy, and Emmy is just one Oscar away from EGOTing. Chances are he’s going to someday get it.
He was born in the Washington Heights neighborhood in up, up, uptown Manhattan. Miranda’s mother is a clinical psychologist. His father was a political advisor and worked with former New York City mayor Ed Koch. After graduating high school, Miranda went onto the liberal arts college Wesleyan where he began work on the play In The Heights.
Miranda’s former teacher Steinfink eventually got to see the play (which was nominated for a record 16 Tony awards and won 11) not after he got free tickets from Miranda but because his wife got them for him as a Christmas present.
Steinfink and Miranda have kept in touch via Facebook.
So, moral of the story, shout out to all the dope teachers out there who be giving us ideas of gold but also: make sure you hook them up when you get famous.