PHOTO ARCHIVE: The Original Broadway Cast of In the Heights
By Matthew Blank
Tony Award winners Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo, Tony nominees Olga Merediz and Robin de Jesús and other members of the original Broadway cast of In the Heights reunite for a one-night-only concert of that Tony Award-winning musical Feb. 11 at the United Palace of Cultural Arts in Washington Heights. We look back at the original production.
In the Heights: In Concert reunites creator and star Miranda (Usnavi) with fellow original Broadway principal cast members Karen Olivo (Vanessa), Chris Jackson (Benny), Olga Merediz (Abuela Claudia), Mandy Gonzalez (Nina), Robin de Jesús (Sonny), Janet Dacal (Carla), Andrea Burns (Daniela), Elisio Roman (Piragua Guy), Seth Stewart (Graffiti Pete) and Javier Muñoz, who portrayed Usnavi when Manuel departed the Broadway cast. The evening also features Rick Negron and Natalie Toro. Negron and Toro starred as Kevin and Camila, respectively, on Broadway and in the first national tour.
Also set to appear are original Broadway ensemble members Doreen Montalvo, Tony Chiroldes, Nina LaFarga, Rosie Lani Friedelman, Afra Hines, Luis Salgado, Shawn Taylor-Corbett, Rickey Tripp, Michael Balderama, Blanca Camacho, Rogelio Douglas, Jr. and Stephanie Klemons.
Viva Broadway, an initiative of the Broadway League that aims to promote Broadway theatre within the Latino community, presents the 8 PM concert. Conceived by Miranda, with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegria Hudes, In the Heights was directed by Thomas Kail (Lombardi), with choreography by Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler.
Miranda spoke with Playbill.com about gathering the original cast together for the special night. "Some people don't live in New York anymore; we're sort of scattered about a bit," he said. "But, logistical issues aside, everyone was very excited to get together and sing this score again. Not only is much of the original cast doing the concert, we have a lot of guests from the first and second national tours and friends who were in the original Broadway run but weren't necessarily [part of the] original cast, but did the show for many years. It's really like a family reunion. A lot of us are still in touch and work together in various capacities, so it's just nothing but a joy."
After a six-month, award-winning Off-Broadway run in 2007, In the Heights began previews on Broadway Feb. 14, 2008. The musical opened on Broadway March 9, 2008, and recouped its $10 million investment in ten months. It concluded its Broadway run Jan. 9, 2011, after 1,185 performances.
In the Heights earned Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Original Score, as well as Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations (Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman).
The concert is produced by Miranda, along with Stephen Gabriel and Luis A. Miranda, Jr.
In the Heights, according to the creators, "tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind."
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