'In the Heights' has evolved alongside immigration politics

'In the Heights' has evolved alongside immigration politics

The next version of “In the Heights” evolved with the 2004 addition of Phillyrican playwright Hudes. She and Miranda “were, in part, refocusing the story to one of an entire community,” she recalls. They put more emphasis on characters who had come from various countries in Latin America. “The songs that centered immigration and migration the most,” Hudes remembers, “were ‘Carnaval del Barrio,’ ‘Paciencia y Fe,’ and ‘Inútil.’ All of those songs were new.” The play did not, however, make any mention of undocumentedness, and Hudes says she doesn’t recall discussing the topic with Miranda as they worked. Instead, it presented the Latinas and Latinos of Washington Heights as the heirs of the neighborhood’s previous waves of European immigrants; this was symbolized by a sign for the Rosario Car Service being put up over the older O’Hanrahan Car Service lettering. When it opened that spring, the show’s exuberant music and charismatic Latina and Latino characters were a huge hit. It was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, winning four, including Best Musical, along with a Grammy win and a Pulitzer Prize …
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