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Meet Daniel Miranda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Miranda.

Daniel, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up as an LGBTQ+ performer of color, there weren’t many options for me. After high school, I went into college as a vocal performance major or opera. That was the one venue that I knew of that didn’t mind that I wasn’t the straight white male you see on stage everywhere else. I quickly decided that I needed more than to just stand and sing. I switched over to the musical theatre and hit the ground running. I am very fortunate to be able to have worked with so many people that have given me opportunities to do what I do. It hasn’t been easy but is has been worth it.

In my short time as a performer, I have broken many molds. As a heavier set, gay Hispanic male, I’ve had the opportunity to play roles such as iconic roles as Jesus in both Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. The Emcee in Cabaret, Berger in Hair. Just to name a few. Roles that are not typically cast with males like me. Because of the open mind and the believe in be me from those directors and mentors, I have been able to get where I am today.

For the past ten years, I have been given the opportunity to be able to work and expand the minds of youth around the metroplex. I started at Plano Children’s Theatre as a performer. That’s where I was given the opportunity to start as a choreographer. I worked my way up and started directing and even program managing. That’s when I started my private coaching. Focusing mainly on voice, acting and audition prep.

I started with one student and started to develop a reputation through my company. That’s when I found the perfect opportunity to give back. Not only was I helping the youth with their performances but I was helping their confidence along the way. When my students saw me perform, a chunky, Hispanic, gay male, I said to them that this was also a possibility for them. So I started opening up my studio to more LGBTQ+ and students of colors. I would even offer scholarships or a summer internship program. I would not turn away any student because of monetary hardships. I did that for a couple of years, and manage to inspire a lot of youth. But even after a while of doing something by your self, you get burned and think of other things you want to do. So I did.

This next chapter of my life was so much fun but not as fulfilling. After leaving the theatre to pursue other options, I feel like I did it all. I was a creative director for photoshoots. I managed a gallery for local artists, I managed a pop-up shop for local artists, I even became an event director/planner for a company, and I had the privilege to plan and manage events from weddings to dinners for a very diverse clientele, and while that was so much fun, my heart still belongs to the arts.

I was offered my job back at the youth theatre, now North Texas Performing Arts, and I jumped at the chance to mold the youth. This time around was different. Not only was I able to work with youth and expand my coaching studio, but I was also given the opportunity to run their newly formed adult theatre. The NTPA Repertory Theatre in Plano, TX. That’s where I was given the opportunity to expand my wings. Slowly, but surely, we’ve been making Plano a little more diverse. With the help of friends along the way, we’ve been able to provide diverse casting in predominately no diverse roles. We’ve been fortunate enough to provide all-female teams, teams of color, actors of color in traditionally white roles, and many opportunities for LGBTQ+ and identifying actors.

I’ve also been working on building my studio by providing scholarships to youth that may not otherwise be able to afford a private coach. While I don’t know what the future brings, I know that planning events for famous organizations, hit TV shows, running photoshoots, performing at birthday parties, and being all-round fabulous will never be a fulfilling as opening peoples minds through the power of the arts.

My dream is to start a foundation of the arts, not to fun theatres, but to fund projects that support LGBTQ+ and people of color actors, playwrights, and productions. I want to make the world, or at least my little corner, a little more colorful through art.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Nothing is ever a smooth road. There are always going to be people who don’t like you, your cause, or your power of speech. Change is slow, and it is a battle. I had to work hard to be where I am. I had to go against people who didn’t believe in me.

When you’re working your way up from nothing, the road will be hard. Nothing malicious, at least nit yet, but convincing people your cause is worth it can be a struggle. Always asked forgiveness, not permission, and luckily the product has always been incredible, where forgiveness wasn’t required. I am very lucky to have very supportive friends. My Fab 4. All four of us LGBTQ+ people of color.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
While I do work for a company, I myself am an independent contractor. If I have a vision, I will do whatever it takes to make it happen. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the support of my company in my latest projects, but I have worked with many organizations in order to make it happen.

My proudest accomplishment to date would have to be my coaching studio. Being able to give the youth the confidence to be who they are while they do what they love is something that stays with you for a long time. My proud vision is to start my foundation for the arts. With that, I will be able to open minds beyond my neck of the woods.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is the first time I took the stage. My aunt, who was a professional actress, was hired to play Pinocchio in a ballet production of Pinocchio. Their Jimny cricket couldn’t continue with the show, and she asked if I would step in. I agreed, and the rest was history.

I still remember stepping on that enormous stage and being in my own private dressing room. I wouldn’t be able to tell you if I was any good, or where the theatre was, but looking out into the audience for the first time is something I will never forget.

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Image Credit:
Photography Credit for the single upload: Natalie Smith

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