Rousing Welcome Home for ‘In the Heights’

Lin-Manuel Miranda (l.) and Karen Olivo, part of the original Broadway cast of “In The Heights,” performing at the United Palace Theatre on Feb. 11. (Photo by Paul Lomax via the Manhattan Times).

Washington Heights offered an enthusiastic welcome home to “In The Heights,” the Tony award-winning musical about that neighborhood that made its Broadway debut five years ago, the Manhattan Times reports.

The article, by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer, chronicles the special one-night only concert last Monday at the gorgeous United Palace Theater on West 175th Street led by the show’s creator and actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who originated the lead role of Usnavi.

He was accompanied by the original Broadway cast including Karen Olivo, who went on to win the Tony for the role of Anita in West Side Story, Chris Jackson, Olga Merediz, Mandy Gonzalez, Robin De Jesús and Janet Dacal. They were cheered on by a packed house that included actors who took over the roles on Broadway and the the cast of the show’s national tour.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (Photo by Paul Lomax via the Manhattan Times).

The concert gathered uptown theater lovers, while also drawing lovers of musicals from throughout the city and beyond to the uptown source of inspiration of “In the Heights.” At she welcomed the audience, Charlotte St. Martin, the Executive Director of the Broadway League, noted that the evening was one of the signature events of the League’s “Viva Broadway” initiative, a new audience development partnership with the Hispanic community to help bridge the world of Broadway with Latino audiences around the country.

“Broadway is an art form that is about creating emotions and developing a connection with audiences,” said St. Martin. “Bringing Broadway to Washington Heights, the actual setting of In the Heights is a wonderful celebration of live theatre and its many inspirations.”

The article quotes both cast members and audiences who attended the one-night only concert, many of whom got specially priced tickets reserved for local residents.

“This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” said Amanda Arocho, a Washington Heights resident. “And I get to walk home afterwards.”

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