Lin-Manuel Miranda, star and creator of the Broadway musical In The Heights, in his dressing room at the Richard Rogers Theater. (Photo by Josh K.)
Robin de Jesus, (Sonny) backstage at In The Heights. (Photo by Josh K.)
A year ago we saw the musical In The Heights when it was Off-Broadway and earning rave reviews. (Check out our first In The Heights story and interview.) In The Heights, set in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights over one fateful Fourth of July weekend, follows the trajectory of two young couples falling in love and one very lucky lottery ticket.
Last week Josh and I had the chance to see the show again as it prepared to open in its new digs on the Great White Way and, afterward, chatted backstage with two of the show's stars.
Josh & Josh: Congratulations on the big move to Broadway! Has the show changed a lot since moving from off-Broadway?
Robin de Jesus: It has really changed, but to someone who only saw it once Off-Broadway, you wouldn’t necessarily notice the differences, or you’d notice an energy shift, or you’d think things were a little clearer. But the heart of the show is still there.
Lin-Manuel Miranda: We’ve done a lot. We’ve been working. There are four new songs in Act II. When most new shows move to Broadway they cut, cut, cut. We only cut two songs. The lesson we took from Off-Broadway was that we needed to take more time telling our story, not less.
J&J: What is it about this show that critics and audiences love so much?
Robin de Jesus: You know, the story of “In the Heights” is simple. You’ve heard it before. But this time you’re hearing amazing, different music, and there’s just so much heart.