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In the Heights
In the Heights.jpg
Music Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lyrics Lin-Manuel Miranda
Book Quiara Alegría Hudes
Productions 2007 Off-Broadway
2008 Broadway
2009 North American Tour
Awards Outer Critics' Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical
Obie Award for Music
Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical
2008 Tony Award Best Musical
2008 Tony Award Best Original Score (Music or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

In the Heights is a musical with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The story explores three days in the characters' lives in the New York City Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights. The score features hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul music. The musical's 2008 Broadway production was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards and won the Tony Award for Best Musical at the 62nd Tony Awards.

Contents

Productions

Miranda created the musical at Wesleyan University and later presented a new version at the National Music Theatre Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. It then received a production at the off-Broadway 37 Arts Theater opening on February 8, 2007. Directed by Thomas Kail, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and music direction by Alex Lacamoire, the cast featured Priscilla Lopez, Christopher Jackson, Mandy Gonzalez, Olga Merediz, Karen Olivo, Andréa Burns, Robin de Jesús and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It was produced by Jill Furman, Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller and Sander Jacobs, (McCollum and Seller produced the hit musicals Rent[1] and Avenue Q). The off-Broadway production was nominated for nine Drama Desk Awards, winning two, and closed on July 15, 2007.

The Broadway production began previews on February 14, 2008,[2] with an official opening on March 9, 2008 at The Richard Rodgers Theatre. The Broadway production was again directed and choreographed by Kail and Blankenbuehler, with most of the off-Broadway principals repeating their roles. It has received favorable reviews praising its modern score, young cast, choreography and set. The show was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards, including Best Musical, book and score, as well as for direction and choreography. Of those thirteen nominations, it won four awards, including best musical, original score, choreography and orchestration.[3]

The producers announced on January 8, 2009 that the show had recouped its $10 million investment after 10 months.[4] The Broadway cast recording was released on June 3, 2008 by Ghostlight Records and won the 51st Annual Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, besting the recordings of The Little Mermaid, Young Frankenstein and the revivals of Gypsy and South Pacific.

The first national tour of In the Heights was announced on April 16, 2009, and began on October 27, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.[5]

Characters

  • Usnavi, the owner of a bodega in Washington Heights. He was named after the first boat his parents saw when they arrived in America which actually said "U.S. Navy." He dreams of going to the Dominican Republic, his parents homeland. That dream was almost a reality until he realizes that the barrio is his true home. Abuela Claudia, the neighborhood matriarch, practically raised him. He is in love with Vanessa.
  • Nina Rosario, the daughter of Kevin and Camila. She is the first to go to college (Stanford University), and everyone in the neighborhood admires her. However, she dropped out of college, unable to get her work done because she had to work two jobs to pay for school. Her relationship with Benny becomes close.
  • "Abuela" Claudia, the elder of the neighborhood, knows everybody and is like a grandmother to all(abuela means grandmother in Spanish). She is the one who looked after Usnavi when his parents died. She passes away towards the end of the musical.
  • Vanessa, Usnavi's love interest. She works at Daniela's salon. She dreams of getting out of the barrio and getting an apartment downtown. Her mother "drinks away her money" so Vanessa cannot afford an apartment.
  • Benny, works at Kevin's dispatch. The only non Spanish speaking member of the community, he falls in love with Nina. He dreams of opening his own business, "Benny's Car Service."
  • Sonny, Usnavi's sassy, lazy, yet ambitious younger cousin who works in the bodega.
  • Daniela, the outrageous owner of the salon where the neighborhood girls gossip.
  • Carla works at Daniela's salon along with Vanessa.
  • Kevin Rosario, Nina's father, wants to make sure his family has everything they want. He is overprotective of Nina and owns Rosario's Car Service.
  • Camila Rosario, Nina's mother, who wants what's best for Nina. She dreams of owning a restaurant.
  • Piragua Guy ("Piragüero"), the owner of a small piragua stand that competes with Mister Softee.
  • Graffiti Pete, Sonny's friend. Usnavi thinks he is a vandal, but he is actually a good-hearted artist. At the end of the musical, he paints a mural of Abuela Claudia that convinces Usnavi to stay in America.

Synopsis

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Act One

In the pre-dawn darkness, alarm clock radios ring from scattered windows announcing a record-breaking heat wave today, July 3. The sun rises, revealing the silhouette of the George Washington Bridge above the apartment buildings.

In the shadows, a young man sprays graffiti onto the awning of a bodega, but his artistic reverie is interrupted when the store owner, Usnavi, enters and chases him away. ("In The Heights") Usnavi opens his bodega and supplies neighbors with their morning coffee and papers. We meet Abuela Claudia, who raised Usnavi, and Sonny, his young cousin who helps with the store. Everyone's stories and dreams pass through this modest store front: his friend Benny wants a promotion, the ladies who work at the salon want some gossip, and Vanessa, Usnavi's love interest, wants an apartment in a different part of town. Usnavi has a dream of his own: to one day return to the island of his roots, the Dominican Republic.

As the morning rush subsides, Nina Rosario enters, home at last from her freshman year at Stanford. Usnavi is proud of her, and Abuela Claudia invites the neighborhood star inside for a visit. But in a moment alone, Nina reveals that she struggled at college. ("Breathe")

Meanwhile Nina's parents seek an emergency loan from the bank to keep their struggling taxi dispatch afloat. They leave Benny, a young employee, in charge of the dispatch for the first time. ("Benny's Dispatch") Nina enters looking for her parents but finds Benny showing off his skills on the microphone.

At the hair salon across the street, Vanessa has financial troubles of her own. Her mother drank away the money for the bills, and now their electricity is shut off. Vanessa dreams of escaping to a studio in the West Village; at the moment her only respite is a stop by Usnavi's bodega. ("It Won't Be Long Now") Sonny asks Vanessa out for Usnavi and she accepts.

Nina is helping Benny on the dispatch when her parents return. She becomes nervous and reveals to her parents that she lost her academic scholarship and dropped out of Stanford. Her father, Kevin, is devastated that he cannot provide tuition without the scholarship. ("Inútil")

Nina seeks comfort from her friend Vanessa, but the salon owner, Daniela, sits her down for a makeover and gossip session. Daniela laments that this is her last day on the block. Due to a rent increase, the salon is relocating to the Bronx. ("No Me Diga") Daniela decides to tease Vanessa by telling her that Usnavi slept with one of the neighborhood skanks, just to see how Vanessa would react. Vanessa reacts in a way that shows that she likes Usnavi, but does not truly recognize it. Daniela then teases Nina about Benny, who has a crush on her, saying he has a "big taxi". When talking to Nina about her getting out and going to college, Nina reveals she dropped out, shocking the girls.The best "bochinche" of the day is yet to come: someone bought a winning lottery ticket from Usnavi's bodega. Everyone on the block dreams of how they'd spend the small fortune. ("96,000") Abuela Claudia emerges amid the hubbub to feed the pigeons. She reflects on her childhood journey from Cuba to New York in 1943, remembering what her mother would say, "Patience and faith" along the journey. ("Paciencia y Fe") She reveals that she holds the winning lottery ticket.

As the sun begins to set, Nina and Benny find themselves alone on the street. Nina admits that she felt like an outsider at Stanford, and Benny says that being the only African-American in a Latino-run business can be intimidating. The two take a tour of the neighborhood landmarks they grew up with. ("When You're Home") The stores close up for the evening as a piragua guy continues selling flavored ice. ("Piragua")

At the Rosario household, Camila, Nina's mother, has been cooking up a storm. Neighbors are enjoying the music and company when Kevin enters late, but with an announcement. He has sold Rosario's Car Service to pay for Nina's tuition. His news is met with anger: Nina follows Benny to a dance club, apologizing, but he is furious at Kevin's decision. Vanessa and Usnavi enter the club and begin to dance. ("The Club") Tensions rise on the dance floor when, suddenly, the power goes out. ("Blackout") Vanessa and Usnavi are separated in the darkness. With fireworks exploding in the sky, Nina and Benny find each other in the chaos and kiss.

Act Two

The next morning, Benny and Nina are on his fire escape after spending the night together. ("Sunrise") Down on the street, Usnavi's bodega has been looted. His awning is ripped and his register gone. Abuela Claudia convinces Usnavi they should use her lottery winnings to relocate to the Dominican Republic. Usnavi agrees to get rid of his corner store and pursue his dream. ("Hundreds of Stories")

Nina's parents have been searching for her all night, and when they learn that she has been with Benny, Kevin is furious. Kevin vows that Benny will never be a part of the Rosario family because he is not Latino. The family is at a breaking point when Camila instructs them to get it together before it's too late. ("Enough")

It's high noon and the neighbors are frustrated by the extreme heat and continuing power outage. They muster enough energy for one last celebration before the bodega, the salon, and the dispatch shut their doors forever. ("Carnaval Del Barrio") People, led by Daniela, start to dance and sing. Vanessa, angered by the heat and the events at the blackout last night, comes out and starts complaining about the heat and how "you can't even go to a club with a friend". Daniela, exasperated at the fact that Vanessa does not know how Usnavi feels about her, finally tells her not to "pretend that Usnavi is her friend" because everyone else knows that he loves her. Usnavi announces to the crowd that Abuela won the lottery. The celebration continues onto another block when a noticeably upset Nina comes out and stops Usnavi from dancing, pulls him into Abuela's house. Kevin makes an announcement over the taxi radios: Abuela Claudia has died. ("Atención") The neighbors reunite on the sidewalk, this time to hold a vigil in honor of the block's matriarch. ("Alabanza") Usnavi and Nina look through boxes of Abuela Claudia's keepsakes—old lottery tickets and photos from the block's history. ("Everything I Know") As Nina discovers photographs from her own high school graduation she decides to accept her father's sacrifice and return to Stanford. Her parents agree to sell the business, even if it means Kevin must return to being a mechanic.

Across the street, as Daniela closes her salon forever, she reveals one last bit of juicy news ("No Me Diga (Reprise)"). She will cosign on Vanessa's dream apartment in the West Village, thanks to a little convincing from Usnavi. Vanessa brings Usnavi a bottle of champagne to celebrate and asks him to stay, getting in an argument with him in the process. She tells him all the reasons why he should not go, and finally kisses him, telling him that she is not mad, it is just too late. She leaves the store. Usnavi's mind is still set on the Dominican Republic. ("Champagne") Sonny laments that this is the end of an era.

Benny returns his uniform and car keys to Kevin. He will start planning his own business now. But he worries about his relationship with Nina: can they survive a long-distance relationship without the blessing of her father? Nina and Benny stand together as the sun sets. ("When The Sun Goes Down")

The next morning Usnavi wakes up early to begin closing up shop. He sees the businesses around him. Daniela's salon is closed. The Rosario's Car Service sign is gone, showing evidence of the previous Irish car service and Jewish bakery. In just a few weeks he'll be gone too, and the block will be completely changed. But Sonny's not content to leave without a trace. He has commissioned a graffiti mural of Abuela Claudia on the bodega's grate, and Graffiti Pete has stayed up all night completing the portrait. Sonny rolls down the bodega grate, revealing the memorial. Usnavi realizes that this block is where his roots are, this "island" is where he will stay. He is home. ("Finale")

Musical numbers

Act I
  • "In the Heights" — Usnavi, Company
  • "Breathe" (Respira) — Nina, Company
  • "Benny's Dispatch" — Benny, Nina
  • "It Won't Be Long Now" — Vanessa, Usnavi, Sonny
  • "Inútil" (Useless) — Kevin
  • "No Me Diga" — Daniela, Carla, Vanessa, Nina
  • "96,000" — Usnavi, Benny, Sonny, Vanessa, Daniela, Carla, Company
  • "Paciencia y Fe" (Patience and Faith) — Abuela Claudia, Company
  • "When You're Home" — Nina, Benny, Company
  • "Piragua" — Piragua Guy
  • "The Club" — Company
  • "Blackout/Fireworks" — Company
Act II
  • "Sunrise" (Al Amanecer) — Nina, Benny, Company
  • "Hundreds of Stories" — Abuela Claudia, Usnavi
  • "Enough" — Camila
  • "Carnaval del Barrio" — Daniela, Company
  • "Atención" — Kevin
  • "Alabanza" — Usnavi, Nina, Company
  • "Everything I Know" — Nina
  • "No Me Diga (Reprise)".....Carla, Nina, Vannesa, Daniela
  • "Piragua (Reprise)" — Piragua Guy
  • "Champagne" — Vanessa, Usnavi
  • "When the Sun Goes Down" — Nina, Benny
  • "Finale" — Usnavi, Company

Cast and characters

Original Broadway Cast

Ensemble:

  • Tony Chiroldes
  • Rosie Lani Fiedelman
  • Joshua Henry
  • Afra Hines
  • Nina Lafarga
  • Doreen Montalvo
  • Javier Muñoz
  • Krysta Rodriguez
  • Eliseo Roman
  • Luis Salgado
  • Shaun Taylor-Corbett
  • Rickey Tripp
  • Michael Balderrama
  • Blanca Camacho
  • Rogelio Douglas Jr.
  • Stephanie Klemons.
Broadway cast replacements
  • Marcy Harriell replaced Karen Olivo as Vanessa on November 18, 2008.
  • Rick Negron replaced Carlos Gomez as Kevin on December 19, 2008.
  • Javier Muñoz replaced Lin-Manuel Miranda as Usnavi on February 17, 2009.
  • Justina Machado covered Andréa Burns as Daniela from June 29, 2009 until August 25, 2009.
  • Will Wingfield replaced Seth Stewart as Graffiti Pete on August 25, 2009.
  • Courtney Reed replaced Janet Dacal as Carla on September 29, 2009.
  • Corbin Bleu replaced Javier Muñoz as Usnavi on January 25, 2010 until April 25, 2010.
  • David Del Rio replaced Robin de Jesús as Sonny on February 15, 2010.
  • Janet Dacal replaced Mandy Gonzalez as Nina on February 19, 2010.
  • Bianca Marroquin will replace Andréa Burns for a limited time as Daniela from June 12, 2010 until August 15, 2010.

Film adaptation

On November 7, 2008, Universal Pictures announced that they plan to adapt the musical as a feature film for release in 2010. Kenny Ortega will direct the 2008 Tony Award Winning Best Musical according to Variety. Original Broadway Cast Member and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will reprise his role as Usnavi in the future release of In The Heights.[6]

Television

On May 27, 2009, PBS Great Performances aired an episode entitled "In The Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams." It documents the journey taken by the cast and crew to bring the show to Broadway and to later win a Tony Award and take the world by storm.

First National Tour

The first national tour of In The Heights began in Tampa, FL on October 27, 2009. Tour stops include: Atlanta, GA; St. Louis, MO; Columbus, OH; Minneapolis, MN; Appleton, WI; Chicago, IL; Hartford, CT; Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; Cleveland, OH; Baltimore, MD; Orlando, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Naples, FL; Houston, TX; Austin, TX; Denver, CO; Tempe, AZ, Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; and Costa Mesa, CA. Additional tour dates will be announced soon.

Awards and nominations

  • 2007 Outer Critics Circle Awards
    • Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical (winner)
    • Outstanding Choreography – Andy Blankenbuehler (winner)
    • Outstanding Director of a Musical – Thomas Kail (nominee)
    • Outstanding New Score – Lin-Manuel Miranda (nominee)
  • 2007 Lucille Lortel Awards
    • Outstanding Musical (winner)
    • Outstanding Choreographer – Andy Blankenbuehler (winner)
    • Outstanding Scenic Design – Anna Louizos (nominee)
  • 2007 Drama Desk Awards
    • Outstanding Ensemble Performance (winner)
    • Outstanding Choreography – Andy Blankenbuehler (winner)
    • Outstanding Musical (nominee)
    • Outstanding Director of a Musical – Thomas Kail (nominee)
    • Outstanding Music – Lin-Manuel Miranda (nominee)
    • Outstanding Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda (nominee)
    • Outstanding Orchestrations – Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman (nominee)
    • Outstanding Set Design of a Musical – Anna Louizos (nominee)
    • Outstanding Sound Design – Acme Sound Partners (nominee)
  • 2008 Tony Awards
    • Best Musical (winner)
    • Best Book of a Musical – Quiara Alegría Hudes (nominee)
    • Best Original Score (Music or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre – Lin-Manuel Miranda (winner)
    • Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical – Lin-Manuel Miranda (nominee)
    • Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical – Robin De Jesús (nominee)
    • Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical – Olga Merediz (nominee)
    • Best Scenic Design of a Musical – Anna Louizos (nominee)
    • Best Costume Design of a Musical – Paul Tazewell (nominee)
    • Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Howell Binkley (nominee)
    • Best Sound Design of a Musical – Acme Sound Partners (nominee)
    • Best Direction of a Musical – Thomas Kail (nominee)
    • Best Choreography – Andy Blankenbuehler (winner)
    • Best Orchestrations – Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman (winner)

References

External links


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