Lin-Manuel Miranda is putting his money where his heart is.
The Broadway star and Mary Poppins Returns actor is teaming up with some of his Hamilton collaborators to buy a special piece of retail — New York City’s famed Drama Book Shop. The century-old institution is famous for housing rare theater scripts, sheet music and the like, which Miranda relied on when he was an up-and-comer in the scene.
Miranda bought the book shop along with Hamilton director and longtime friend Thomas Kail, lead producer Jeffrey Seller and James L. Nederlander, the president of the company that currently oversees the Richard Rodgers Theater where Hamilton continues to play to sold-out audiences.
“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,” Miranda told the New York Times about his connection to the shop. “After college Tommy Kail and I met in the Drama Book Shop basement, and I wrote a good deal of In the Heights there.”
The announcement comes after Miranda and his friends have spent years advocating for the shop and helping fundraise. Miranda would often pop into the store to drive sales by signing everything in the store with his name on it (including books and scripts from his musicals), and hold signings of his new material there.
The foursome stepped in — along with a pledge for help from the N.Y.C. mayor’s office — to aid the store’s now-former owner Rozanne Seelen, who had recently announced they were being forced to leave the current Times Square location because of rising rent costs. Seelen has been overseeing the book shop since her husband Arthur died in 2000. He previously bought the store in 1958.
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“It’s the chronic problem — the rents were just too high, and I’m 84 years old — I just didn’t have the drive to find a new space and make another move,” Seelen told the New York Times. “Lin-Manuel and Tommy are my white knights.”
Miranda and co. bought the space for the cost of the inventory, remaining rent cost and a promise to keep Seelen on board as a consultant, according to the New York Times. The store will still be moving to a new location with the help of the mayor’s office, which has promised to find an affordable space in midtown Manhattan.