January 17, 2019

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Friends Purchase Drama Book Shop

“When I was in high school I would go to the old location and sit on the floor and read plays — I didn’t have the money to buy them,” Mr. Miranda said in a telephone interview from Puerto Rico, where he is preparing to star in a three-week run of “Hamilton” in San Juan that opens on Friday. “After college Tommy Kail and I met in the Drama Book Shop basement, and I wrote a good deal of ‘In the Heights’ there.”

In 2016, after a burst pipe caused damage to the shop, Mr. Miranda came to its aid by urging his fans to patronize it. The store needed a lot more help this time.

“They’re like family to us,” he said, “and when we heard that the rent increase was finally too precipitous to withstand, we began hatching a plan.”

The store is particularly important to Mr. Kail, whose post-college theater venture, Back House Productions, was a resident company at the store. “I was in many senses professionally born in that bookshop’s basement — I spent the first five years of my career there,” he said in a telephone interview from London, where he was checking in on the “Hamilton” production there.

Mr. Kail and Mr. Miranda both said that they were also inspired by “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which townspeople rally to save an endangered family banking business. “There was no hesitation,” Mr. Kail said. “The Building and Loan was struggling, and we could do something.”

Mr. Seller’s office, which is already running a “Hamilton” merchandise store in Midtown, will oversee the day-to-day management. He said the book shop would have a revamped website and expanded programming; the goal, he said, would be to break even, which in recent years the store has done occasionally but not consistently.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/theater/lin-manuel-miranda-hamilton-drama-book-shop.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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