A Thursday Interruption: A love-fest for In The Heights

One of my favorite recent musicals is In the Heights, which won 4 Tony’s, including one for best musical. It’s set in the predominantly Latino Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan, and its soundtrack combines Latin music (cumbia, salsa, reggaeton, bachata, etc) with hip-hop. The lyrics are also mixed, incorporating Spanglish, English, and Spanish seamlessly. Latinos (and, uh, the people who love them? :D) pop out throughout show — they’re performers, musicians, lyricists, etc.. Want to see scenes? Check out this NYT featurette, and the show’s website for clips. The Wiki provides a pretty detailed synopsis of the show — the only thing I’d add is that one of the show’s major themes is gentrification, and while Latino/black relations are central, there’s a constant reflection on the mechanisms of power and the role racism plays in structuring one’s experience and access to the American dream.


<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 The other thing I loooooooooove about this cast is that they parody Rihanna. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

I’m still mad about VH1 not including any Latin@s in its American history thinger. Uhhh. In the Heights won FOUR TONY AWARDS. >_<


  1. Kara says

    You’re right, VH1 is sleeping. But PBS certainly isn’t. Check out Latin Music USA: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/latinmusicusa/

    This musical does a great job of addressing gentrification and its effects on established cultural communities. Having been in the audience twice (one in pre-runs and second this year), I think this tends to go over members’ heads at times. The experience of attaining the American Dream has somehow become an overarching narrative for the immigrant experience, but there’s never any room to address the resistance against the disintegration of one’s community and the loss that comes with that. You should check out the book, too. :)

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