Lin Manuel Miranda is moving on.
The Tony Award-winning creator and star of the Broadway production of "In the Heights" is on the phone talking from Los Angeles where his latest project, "Bring It On!" begins performances Sunday at the Ahmanson Theatre — and he is definitely jazzed.
For that show, based on the 2000 film about competitive cheerleading, Miranda, 31, contributed songs, along with lyricist Amanda Green ("High Fidelity") and composer Tom Kitt (The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning "Next to Normal"). "It's been a joyous collaboration,' he says. "It can be a lonely profession and I've learned so much [from his colleagues]."
After Los Angeles, the show — which is directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler (choreographer of "In the Heights") will tour through next spring. (It comes to Providence April 24 to 29.)
It's been a project Miranda has been involved with as the Broadway run of "In the Heights" was concluding. The musical began in 2000 when Miranda was an undergrad at Wesleyan University in Middletown, then continued to the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford for development, before moving off-Broadway, then to Broadway in 2008. A national tour followed.
Miranda performed the final triumphant show in January. "It was one of the most joyous nights of my life." He hopped the midnight train to Georgia —literally, he says; there was a snowstorm — where "Bring It On" was preparing for its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.
Though the Broadway version and the national tour of "In the Heights" are finished, the non-Equity tour is now underway in smaller markets for one nighters or short runs. It plays the Garde Arts Center in New London Saturday, Oct. 29, and the Palace Theater in Waterbury Nov. 4 and 5.
Miranda says he and director Thomas Kail (also a Wesleyan grad) have are involved in the casting and prepping the show — with Perrry Young is the role Miranda originated — and are excited about the results. "I think it speaks to the depth of the Latino talent out there," he says. "I think this cast is as good as the Equity tour."
As for the movie version of "In the Heights" — which appeared to be fast tracked last year at Universal — it is now off the tracks completely and the rights to do the movie musical have returned to Miranda.
He is cool with it all, he says. He says what way he learned from his Hollywood experience is "don't say it's green lit until you're walking onto the set." He says the larger the project became, the more conditions the studio wanted to impose, and he thinks it will be better as an independent film, "a lean mean fighting machine. We want to make it a really cool movie shot on location [in Washington Heights]."
Will he still star? "I'm fine not playing the role" but he sees himself perhaps having a window of three years before he definitely becomes too old. for the role. "I don't want to be like Ted Neeley — God bless him [playing the title role in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' in his 60s]."
And his next project: