Story of In the Heights Told in PBS Documentary, "Chasing Broadway Dreams, May 27

News   Story of In the Heights Told in PBS Documentary, "Chasing Broadway Dreams, May 27 "In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams," a documentary about the Latino-steeped musical that won the 2008 Tony Award as Best Musical, will be seen on PBS-TV May 27.
Tony-winning In the Heights creator-star Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Tony-winning In the Heights creator-star Lin-Manuel Miranda. Photo by Joan Marcus

The "Great Performances" presentation will premiere May 27 at 8 PM (ET) on Channel 13 in the New York City area. Check local listings.

According to PBS notes, "Making it in New York City is tough. Few get the chance to live out their dreams, and the cast and crew of In the Heights know this all too well. This young, diverse group of relatively unknown artists and performers have dreamed of making it on Broadway, but are well aware that a new original musical set outside a bodega in the Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights is a highly risky proposition. It took eight years in all, but they succeeded beyond their wildest expectations, winning four Tony Awards along the way, including Best Musical and Best Score for a Musical."

"In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams" chronicles the personal stories of composer-lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast in the months leading up to the 2008 opening night.

The documentary is an @radical.media production for Thirteen in association with WNET.org. For "Great Performances," Bill O'Donnell is series producer, Michael Kantor ("Broadway: The American Musical," "Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America") is consulting producer; David Horn is executive producer.

Expect to see "thrilling extended performance sequences of the original cast of In the Heights onstage at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway." According to PBS production notes, "Producers from @radical.media first identified the show's potential at one of the early readings, and began filming the process shortly thereafter. This provides unprecedented access to the cast as they went through workshops, to Off-Broadway, and finally to Broadway."

In the Heights, now at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, will launch a spinoff national touring company in 2009-10. It has conception and Tony-winning music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, book by Quiara Alegria Hudes, direction by Thomas Kail and Tony-winning choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler.

For Miranda, In the Heights began when he was a sophomore at Wesleyan College. He gathered stories and characters inspired by his upper Manhattan Latino neighborhood to create a romantic musical comedy that would be refined over the years as new collaborators (and producers) came aboard.

"When I saw Rent, it was the first time I'd seen a musical that took place now," Miranda said. "A light bulb went off and it was like 'oh, you can write a musical that's about you, about your life.' If you had told me it'd take eight years to finish [In the Heights] I probably would have been too scared to continue."

For more information visit pbs.org/gperf or www.intheheightsthemusical.com.

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