I didn't want to give anything away when I posted that wedding video a few days ago with Lin-Manuel Miranda, but there's a nice little addendum to the story which I can safely tell now. After I first saw the video a couple years ago, not long after it went online, I sent a link of it to Sheldon Harnick, the lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof, because of course I figured he'd love the use of his song, "To Life." He wrote back to say that not only was he well-aware of it, but he was friends with Lin-Manuel Miranda, having served on a Dramatist Guild committee with him, and thought he was a terrific guy. But not just that -- he knew about the event beforehand, because Lin-Manuel had told him, to ask permission. (Not that permission was really needed, it was just at a wedding, after all, but there are a few lyric changes, and he felt it was the right thing to do.) Talk about being thoughtful to a fellow-writer...
In fact, in the little write-up that Lin-Manuel included when he posted the video on YouTube, he not only gave thanks to those who helped pull off the extravaganza, but added at the end, "And thanks to Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick, for writing an unbelievably good song. L'Chaim!"
It makes me like the video -- and him -- all the more.
By the way, here is a terrific column in the "Vows" column of the New York Times, written on the occasion of the wedding. There's nothing written about the extravaganza, but it's a wonderful tale of the couple meeting in high school and how their courtship grew over the years. The reason for "years" is what's most surprising. Though clearly a wildly-outgoing person, Lin-Manuel says, “She was gorgeous and I’m famously bad at talking to women I find attractive. I have a total lack of game.” But my favorite line comes later when he tracked her down on Facebook after a few years and off-handedly invited her to some public event where a lot of other friends would be. But even there, and even after having invited her, he largely ignored her: "“I was so shy I asked a friend of mine to get her phone number."
It's worth noting that, showing his good taste, his now-wife Vanessa, was a scientist for Johnson & Johnson, but then quit to go to Fordham where she got a law degree.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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