Lin-Manuel Miranda Backs Out of Starkey Hearing Gala
The Twin Cities will not get its shot to see Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on the red carpet at Sunday’s Starkey Hearing Gala after all.
“We just found out that his professional schedule has changed,” says a spokeswoman for the Starkey Hearing Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Eden Prairie-based Starkey Hearing Technologies. The foundation’s annual “So the World May Hear” gala, held at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, raised more than $7 million last year to support the deaf community worldwide. Always a star-studded event, past honorees have included Ben Affleck and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. But Miranda, Broadway’s most in-demand composer/performer, would have been a huge get, at the height of his career. Last minute changes are not uncommon when it comes to the talent the Starkey gala attracts.
Originally, Miranda’s attendance was timed to promote his monster hit musical, which is coming to the Orpheum Theatre in August. Starkey Hearing planned to honor Miranda for his Hamilton Education Program, known as Edu-Ham, which brings history lessons to students, and then brings students to the theater who otherwise would not have access. In Minneapolis, EduHam is anticipated to benefit nearly 5,000 Title 1 high school students.
The Starkey Foundation still plans to partner with EduHam and also contribute to Miranda’s disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
“We’re excited about our future work together in Minneapolis with the Edu-Ham program, and partnering with the Miranda family to rebuild a hearing healthcare system in Puerto Rico,” says Tani Austin, co-founder of the foundation and wife of Starkey Technologies CEO Bill Austin. She recently visited Puerto Rico with Miranda’s parents.
The gala takes place Sunday with a red carpet leading into the RiverCentre starting at 3 p.m.
This year’s performers include Alice Cooper, Gloria Gaynor, and Sinbad as emcee. Other celebrities expected to attend include Forest Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Huey Lewis, Frankie Muniz, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph and Timberwolves center Karl Anthony Towns.
But more could still be added in the two days before the event.