In the Heights

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In the Heights
In the Heights.jpg
Broadway poster
MusicLin-Manuel Miranda
LyricsLin-Manuel Miranda
BookQuiara Alegría Hudes
Productions2007 Off-Broadway
2008 Broadway
2009 North American Tour
2011 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Concert
2011 Manila
2013 Brazil
2013 Costa Rica
2013 Philadelphia
2014 Edinburgh
AwardsTony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Score
Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical
Lortel Award for Best Musical
Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist
 
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In the Heights
In the Heights.jpg
Broadway poster
MusicLin-Manuel Miranda
LyricsLin-Manuel Miranda
BookQuiara Alegría Hudes
Productions2007 Off-Broadway
2008 Broadway
2009 North American Tour
2011 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Concert
2011 Manila
2013 Brazil
2013 Costa Rica
2013 Philadelphia
2014 Edinburgh
AwardsTony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Score
Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical
Lortel Award for Best Musical
Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist

In the Heights is a musical with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The story is set over the course of three days, involving an ensemble cast of characters in the largely Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City.

After productions in Connecticut (2005) and Off-Broadway (2007), the show opened in a Broadway theatre production in March 2008. This production was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards, winning four: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler), and Best Orchestrations (Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman). It was also nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Background[edit]

Miranda wrote the earliest draft of In the Heights in 1999, his sophomore year of college. After the show was accepted by Wesleyan University's student theater company Second Stage, Miranda worked on adding "freestyle rap ... bodegas, and salsa numbers."[1] It played from April 20, 1999 to April 22, 1999. After seeing the play, four Wesleyan seniors, John Buffalo Mailer, Neil Stewart, Anthony Veneziale and Thomas Kail approached Miranda and asked if the play could be expanded to be on Broadway.[1] In 2002, Miranda and Mailer worked with director Tommy Kail and wrote five separate drafts of In the Heights.

Productions[edit]

Connecticut (2005)[edit]

A new version of In the Heights was presented at the National Music Theatre Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT in 2005.[2][3]

Off-Broadway (2007)[edit]

It then opened at the off-Broadway 37 Arts Theater, running from February 8, 2007 through July 15, 2007. Directed by Thomas Kail, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and music direction by Alex Lacamoire, it was produced by Jill Furman, Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller and Sander Jacobs. The off-Broadway production was nominated for nine Drama Desk Awards, winning two.

Broadway (2008-2011)[edit]

The musical premiered on Broadway, starting in previews on February 14, 2008,[4] 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 reprising their roles. The creative team included set design by Anna Louizos, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Acme Sound Partners, arrangements and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman, and music coordination by Michael Keller.

The producers announced on January 8, 2009 that the show had recouped its $10 million investment after 10 months.[5] The cast recording was released on June 3, 2008, by Ghostlight Records and won the 51st Annual Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, beating the recordings of The Little Mermaid, Young Frankenstein, and the revivals of Gypsy and South Pacific. The Broadway production celebrated its 1000th performance on August 2, 2010.[6]

The Broadway production played its final performance on January 9, 2011 after 29 previews and 1,184 regular performances, making it the 81st longest running show in Broadway history.[7][8] The final cast starred Lin-Manuel Miranda, Arielle Jacobs, Marcy Harriell, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Olga Merediz, Andréa Burns, and Priscilla Lopez.

US Tour (2009-2011)[edit]

The first national tour of In the Heights began on October 27, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.[9] The musical ran in San Juan, Puerto Rico in November 2010, the first time an Equity tour has played in the city. Puerto Rico is the "ancestral home of its librettist Quiara Alegría Hudes and its star and Tony-winning songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda." Miranda played this engagement.[10] The national tour closed on April 3, 2011 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida.[11] At the time of its closing, the tour starred Joseph Morales as Usnavi.[12]

Cabaret Cares concert (2011)[edit]

On January 5, 2011, past and present cast members of In the Heights performed a Cabaret Cares concert at the Laurie Beechman Theatre to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.[13]

Manila, Philippines (2011)[edit]

The international premiere opened in Manila, Philippines, on September 2, 2011, and played a limited engagement until September 18, 2011. The new production was directed by Bobby Garcia and starred Nyoy Volante as Usnavi.[14] In the Heights had a repeat run last March 2012 and Lin -Manuel Miranda was present in the audience during the opening night.[15]

Non-Equity Tour (2011-2012)[edit]

In The Heights began a new, non-Equity United States national tour, starting on October 17, 2011, according to casting notices. The tour ran until June 2012.[16][17][18] The tour played in Chicago in January 2012, with Virginia Cavaliere as Nina, Presilah Nunez as Vanessa, Kyle Carter as Benny, and Perry Young as Usnavi,[19] and San Jose, California in April 2012.[20]

Stagedoor Manor (2013)[edit]

Stagedoor Manor performed the show in the summer of 2013. The show was applauded by Lin-Manuel Miranda and later went on to be featured on Playbill's website.

Philadelphia (2013)[edit]

The Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia mounted a production of In the Heights from September 3, 2013 to October 20, 2013. The show was directed by Bruce Lumpkin.

São Paulo, BRAZIL (2014)[edit]

The Brazilian premiere of "Nas Alturas - O Musical da Broadway" (In the Heights) will be staged at Teatro Bradesco from 17th April until 25th May. In the cast features Myra Ruiz (Nina), Ricardo Marques (Benny), Mauro Gorini (Kevin), Germana Guilherme (Camila), Renata Brás (Daniela), Milena Martines (Carla), Lola Fanucchi (Vanessa), Thiago Vianna (Graffiti), Rafael Dantas (Piragua Guy).

London (2014)[edit]

The UK premiere of In The Heights will be staged at Southwark Playhouse from 9th May until 7th June 2014. The cast features Sam Mackay, David Bedella and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, with direction by Luke Sheppard.[21]

Characters[edit]

Synopsis [edit]

Act 1[edit]

At the crack of dawn, on the hottest day of summer, Usnavi chases away a graffiti artist from his tiny bodega in Washington Heights, opens the store, and introduces the major characters ("In the Heights"). Last to appear is Nina Rosario, back at last from her freshman year at Stanford University. Alone, Nina ponders her struggles at college and readies herself to give her parents some bad news ("Breathe").

Meanwhile, Nina's parents, Kevin and Camila, seek an emergency loan to keep their struggling taxi dispatch afloat, temporarily leaving Benny, a young employee and friend of Nina's, in charge ("Benny's Dispatch"). Meanwhile, at the hair salon across the street, Vanessa, Usnavi's potential love interest, dreams of escaping to a studio apartment in the West Village, remaining optimistic despite her own financial insecurity ("It Won't Be Long Now"). When Vanessa stops by Usnavi's bodega, Usnavi's younger cousin Sonny asks her out to a romantic evening on Usnavi's behalf, and she accepts.

When Nina's parents return, she reveals how she lost her academic scholarship and dropped out of Stanford. Nina's father, Kevin, is devastated that he cannot provide for his daughter ("Inútil"). Nina seeks comfort from Vanessa, but the salon owner and local gossip, Daniela, sits Nina down for a makeover, coercing Vanessa into admitting that she cares about Usnavi's sexual decisions; Nina then reveals to the salon that she has dropped out ("No Me Diga").

After Usnavi discovers that he sold a winning lottery ticket worth $96,000, everyone on the block dreams of how they would each spend the small fortune ("96,000"). Later, Abuela Claudia—the beloved neighborhood matriarch who "practically raised" Usnavi as a young orphan—reflects on her childhood journey from Cuba to New York in 1943, showing the audience that she secretly holds the winning lottery ticket ("Paciencia y Fé").

Nina and Benny take a tour of the neighborhood and reminisce, gradually sharing romantic feelings ("When You're Home"). At a dinner party, Kevin announces that he has sold the family car service to pay for Nina's tuition. Vanessa and Usnavi enter a dance club for their date, followed by a furious Benny, who is now out of work, and an apologetic Nina; tensions rise on the dance floor because Vanessa and Usnavi are attempting to make each other jealous, while Benny drunkenly hits a man dancing with Nina ("The Club"). The entire club breaks out into a huge fight when, suddenly, the power goes out throughout the city, probably due to the intense summer heat. The neighborhood erupts into chaos and Usnavi, Vanessa, Nina and Benny all look for each other in the darkness. Meanwhile, Sonny and his mischievous friend from the opening of the show, Graffiti Pete, attempt to distract the bodega from any potential looters by setting off fireworks; at the same time, Abuela Claudia reveals to Usnavi that she won the lottery, while Nina and Benny find each other, argue, and then kiss ("Blackout").

Act 2[edit]

Benny and Nina have spent the night together and, the next morning, Nina teaches Benny some Spanish phrases, while he shares his stress over what Kevin will think of their new relationship ("Sunrise"). Down on the street, Usnavi's bodega has been looted. Abuela Claudia convinces Usnavi they should use her lottery winnings to move to Usnavi's homeland: the Dominican Republic. Usnavi agrees to pursue this lifelong dream at last ("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, but Camila ends the family fight ("Enough"). It is high noon and all are frustrated by the extreme heat and continuing power outage. The locals, led by Daniela, muster enough energy for a last celebration before the bodega, salon, and dispatch shut their doors forever. Usnavi publicly announces that Abuela Claudia won the lottery, and he and she will soon leave for the Dominican Republic; the neighborhood celebrates, though Vanessa is heartbroken ("Carnaval del Barrio"). Kevin makes a sudden announcement over the taxi radios: Abuela Claudia has died ("Atención"). The neighborhood holds a vigil for Claudia, while Usnavi, attributing her death to a "combination of the stress and the heat," makes an impromptu eulogy ("Alabanza"). Usnavi and Nina rummage through boxes of Claudia's keepsakes ("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.

Across the street, as Daniela closes her salon, she reveals one last bit of juicy news: she will co-sign on Vanessa's dream apartment in the West Village, thanks to a little convincing from Usnavi ("No Me Diga" - Reprise). Meanwhile, the Piragua Guy's rival, Mr. Softee, is unable to sell due to his truck being broken down, and Piragua Guy celebrates the flourishing of his business ("Piragua" – Reprise). Vanessa brings a bottle of champagne to thank Usnavi and, though she flirts with him, he is so flustered by Claudia's death that he is unable to appreciate Vanessa's attempts; Vanessa finally kisses him and leaves ("Champagne"). Meanwhile, Benny worries about his relationship with Nina, since her decision to go back west, and they stand together while the sun sets, uncertain of their future ("When the Sun Goes Down").

The next morning, Usnavi wakes up early to begin closing up shop. In just a few weeks, Usnavi imagines that the block will be completely changed. Sonny, however, has commissioned Graffiti Pete to paint a mural of Abuela Claudia on the bodega's grate. Sonny now rolls down the bodega grate in front of Usnavi, revealing the memorial. Usnavi is stunned that they completed this all in one night; he tells Sonny to spread the news that he has changed his mind to stay, promises to pursue Vanessa, and realizes that this block is his true home ("Finale").

Musical numbers[edit]

† Designates number not included on original cast recording

Casts[edit]

CharacterOpening Broadway CastClosing Broadway CastNotable Broadway
Cast replacement(s)
Graffiti PeteSeth StewartN/A
UsnaviLin-Manuel MirandaCorbin Bleu[22]
Piragua GuyEliseo RománTony ChiroldesN/A
Abuela ClaudiaOlga MeredizN/A
CarlaJanet DacalCourtney ReedN/A
DanielaAndréa BurnsJustina Machado
Bianca Marroquin
KevinCarlos GomezRick NégronN/A
CamilaPriscilla LopezN/A
SonnyRobin de JesúsShaun Taylor-CorbettDavid Del Rio
BennyChristopher JacksonN/A
VanessaKaren OlivoMarcy HarriellN/A
NinaMandy GonzalezArielle JacobsJanet Dacal
Jordin Sparks[23]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

YearAward CeremonyCategoryNomineeResult
2007Drama Desk AwardOutstanding MusicalNominated
Outstanding Ensemble PerformanceWon
Outstanding Director of a MusicalThomas KailNominated
Outstanding ChoreographyAndy BlankenbuehlerWon
Outstanding MusicLin-Manuel MirandaNominated
Outstanding LyricsNominated
Outstanding OrchestrationsAlex Lacamoire and Bill ShermanNominated
Outstanding Set DesignAnna LouizosNominated
Outstanding Sound DesignAcme Sound PartnersNominated
2008Tony AwardBest MusicalWon
Best Book of a MusicalQuiara Alegría HudesNominated
Best Original ScoreLin-Manuel MirandaWon
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a MusicalNominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a MusicalRobin de JesúsNominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a MusicalOlga MeredizNominated
Best Direction of a MusicalThomas KailNominated
Best ChoreographyAndy BlankenbuehlerWon
Best OrchestrationsAlex Lacamoire and Bill ShermanWon
Best Scenic DesignAnna LouizosNominated
Best Costume DesignPaul TazewellNominated
Best Lighting DesignHowell BinkleyNominated
Best Sound DesignAcme Sound PartnersNominated
Grammy AwardBest Musical Show AlbumWon
2009Pulitzer PrizePulitzer Prize for DramaNominated

Reception[edit]

The reviews for the show were positive to mixed (the median grade of 9 major reviews was "B+").[24] Charles Isherwood's review in The New York Times said that "when this musical erupts in one of its expressions of collective joy, the energy it gives off could light up the George Washington Bridge for a year or two."[25] Heather Bing of The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote, "Although I was sometimes struggling to keep up with the hip-hop and Spanish-infused lyrics, the exciting set and choreography paired with excellent acting held my interest in the storyline."[26] David Rooney's Variety review said, "That depth of feeling, together with the wit of Miranda's lyrics, the playful dexterity of his rhymes, his dynamic score and a bunch of truly winning performances, make the show an uncalculated charmer."[27]

Hudes' book received mixed reviews. Charles McNulty's The Los Angeles Times review mentioned that "the downside to In the Heights is the book...which is overstuffed and oversimplified."[28] The New York Post's Clive Barnes also gave negative comments about the book, saying that "Hudes' work is droopily sentimental and untruthful."[29] Joe Dziemianowicz of the NY Daily News also disliked the book, but added that "what it lacks in story and believability it makes up for in a vibrant rap- and salsa-flavored score, spirited dances and great-looking design."[30]

Film adaptation[edit]

On November 7, 2008, Universal Pictures announced that they planned to adapt the musical as a feature film for release in 2011.[31][32] Kenny Ortega was set to direct the film, which was slated to begin filming in summer 2011.[33][34] However, the project was canceled in March 2011, when Universal opted not to produce the In the Heights film.[35] But in January 2012, Lin-Manuel Miranda said the film adaptation is back under discussion.[36]

Television[edit]

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.[37] Producer Andrew Fried and Director Paul Bozymowski captured footage of the cast and creative team for over two years, from Off-Broadway through to their Tony Award win for Best Musical. The special previewed at the Paley Center for Media in New York on May 4, 2009.[38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Conceiver". In the Heights. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  2. ^ Napoleon, Davi (June 3, 2010). "At the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center's Critics Institute 5Q4 Dan Sullivan". The Faster Times. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ Listing theoneill.org, accessed November 30, 2010
  4. ^ Playbill News: In the Heights Will Play Broadway's Richard Rodgers Starting February 2008
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth."In the Heights Is in the "Hits" Category; Producers Recoup Investment", playbill.com, January 8, 2009
  6. ^ "Photos: 'In the Heights' Celebrates 1000th Performance on Broadway!" broadwayworld.com
  7. ^ "IN THE HEIGHTS Musical Will End Its Run:Art"
  8. ^ "In the Heights to Close on Broadway in January; Miranda to Return to Cast" playbill.com
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth."'In the Heights' Tour Will Launch in Tampa, FL, in October", playbill.com, April 16, 2009
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth."No Me Diga! Lin-Manuel Miranda Stars in Puerto Rico Leg of In the Heights Tour Nov. 30-Dec. 5" playbill.com, November 30, 2010
  11. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Lights Out: In the Heights Ends Broadway Run Jan. 9; Tour Continues and Film Is in the Wings".playbill.com, January 9, 2011.
  12. ^ http://broadwayworld.com/article/IN_THE_HEIGHTS_National_Tour_Ends_Tonight_20110403#ixzz1IUqx2Msr
  13. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "In the Heights Cast Members, Past and Present, Set for Jan. 5 Concert" playbill.com, January 3, 2011.
  14. ^ "Next to Normal, In the Heights and The Little Mermaid to Play Manila", playbill.com, January 28, 2011.
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ [4]
  19. ^ Jones, Chris. THEATER REVIEW: "In the Heights" at the Oriental Theatre Chicago Tribune, January 11, 2012
  20. ^ D'Souza, Karen. "Review: 'In the Heights' in San Jose" mercurynews.com, April 18, 2012
  21. ^ Shenton, Mark. David Bedella and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt Among Now-Complete Cast of London Premiere of 'In the Heights'" playbill.com, March 28, 2014
  22. ^ Corbin Bleu - In The Heights - Official Site
  23. ^ Dan Bacalzo. Arielle Jacobs to Replace Jordin Sparks in Broadway's In the Heights. Theatre News.
  24. ^ StageGrade. In the Heights.
  25. ^ Charles Isherwood. "In the Heights" Review. The New York Times
  26. ^ Heather Bing. IN THE HEIGHTS. Cleveland Leader.
  27. ^ David Rooney. Theatre Review: "In the Heights". Variety.
  28. ^ Culture Monster. THEATRE REVIEW: In the Heights at Pantages Theatre. Los Angeles Times.
  29. ^ Clive Barnes. Uptown Upstaged. The New York Post.
  30. ^ "With shallow story, Broadway's 'In the Heights' can't soar". NY Daily News Review
  31. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Universal Plans Silver-Screen Adaptation of In the Heights'", playbill.com, November 7, 2008
  32. ^ Staff. In The Heights Movie Lands New Screenwriter. Broadway.com
  33. ^ "ASK A STAR: Lin-Manuel Miranda". Broadway.com. 
  34. ^ David Itzkoff. ‘In the Heights’ Movie Gets a Director and a Star. (You’ve Heard of Him.). The New York Times.
  35. ^ [5] playbill.com
  36. ^ Miranda at Work on HEIGHTS Film; New Adaption of Potok's MY NAME IS ASHER LEV
  37. ^ "'In The Heights' - Chasing Broadway Dreams" pbs.org, retrieved November 30, 2010
  38. ^ [6], PREVIEW SCREENING AND DISCUSSION PBS Great Performances: In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams

External links[edit]