The award is given for outstanding artistic contributions to the universality of human experience in American theatre
“Lin-Manuel Miranda has changed the face of American theatre with his intentionally multi-cultural re-telling of American history in the musical Hamilton,” said Christine Toy Johnson, Equity’s National Equal Employment Opportunity Chair. “Miranda has taken history and turned it on its head. In casting non-Caucasian actors to portray Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and other Founding Fathers, as well as their families, Miranda has created new opportunities for performers of color and proven that non-Caucasian performers can be the face of massively commercial works of art.”
The Award was presented at Equity's National membership meeting on Monday, April 23.
Hamilton won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album, Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award from Actors’ Equity, and the 2016 Tony Award for Best Musical, where it earned a record-setting sixteen nominations. Miranda himself has earned three Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He has also been a human rights advocate, including doing major work to raise awareness and funding for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico.
“Not only are there now 3 companies of Hamilton in the United States employing a myriad of Equity actors and stage managers, but the meteoric success of the show has inspired diverse and inclusive casting all across the country,” Johnson said. “I believe what Miranda has created in Hamilton is a game changer for all of us. Now there is precedence. And box office. And hope. And all of those things can go a very long way to making even more things seem possible.”