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In the Heights
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In the Heights
Finding Home
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The eagerly awaited follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new book gives readers an extraordinary inside...
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The eagerly awaited follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new book gives readers an extraordinary inside...
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  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The eagerly awaited follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new book gives readers an extraordinary inside look at In the Heights, his breakout Broadway debut, written with Quiara Alegría Hudes, now a Hollywood blockbuster.
    “[An] exuberant, unique, and invaluable record of dynamic, brilliant, and soulful creativity.”—Booklist (starred review)

    In 2008, In the Heights, a new musical from up-and-coming young artists, electrified Broadway. The show’s vibrant mix of Latin music and hip-hop captured life in Washington Heights, the Latino neighborhood in upper Manhattan. It won four Tony Awards and became an international hit, delighting audiences around the world. For the film version, director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) brought the story home, filming its spectacular dance numbers on location in Washington Heights. That’s where Usnavi, Nina, and their neighbors chase their dreams and ask a universal question: Where do I belong?
     
    In the Heights: Finding Home reunites Miranda with Jeremy McCarter, co-author of Hamilton: The Revolution, and Quiara Alegría Hudes, the Pulitzer Prize–winning librettist of the Broadway musical and screenwriter of the film. They do more than trace the making of an unlikely Broadway smash and a major motion picture: They give readers an intimate look at the decades-long creative life of In the Heights.
     
    Like Hamilton: The Revolution, the book offers untold stories, perceptive essays, and the lyrics to Miranda’s songs—complete with his funny, heartfelt annotations. It also features newly commissioned portraits and never-before-seen photos from backstage, the movie set, and productions around the world.
     
    This is the story of characters who search for a home—and the artists who created one.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Introduction

    The actors took their bows, the crowd finished cheering, and everybody headed for the doors. Spotting a friend, I cut across the lobby. I asked, Did you just see what I just saw?

    Or words to that effect. It’s been fourteen years, so I can’t remember exactly what I said that night. But I do remember exactly how In the Heights made me feel.

    I had gone to the show from a certain sense of obligation. Back then, I was reviewing plays for New York magazine. Since I had argued repeatedly that musical theater needed to embrace a wider range of sounds and styles, duty compelled me to see a show that (according to the press release) was trying to supply them. The track record of such evenings was not stellar, to put it gently. But that night at 37 Arts, the Off-Broadway complex where Heights had its world premiere, I found what you always dream of finding.

    Here was something vibrant and original. Two new writers, the composer/lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda and librettist Quiara Alegría Hudes, had used their hearts, brains, and imagination to evoke life in Washington Heights, a predominan tly Latino neighborhood near the northern tip of Manhattan. They and their collaborators had created a show that was smart, moving, and skillfully staged.

    In the next issue of the magazine, I heralded the show’s arrival, particularly the work of its implausibly gifted composer/lyricist. Heights had made more expansive, more sophisticated use of hip-hop than any musical that had gotten near Broadway. That would have been reason enough for a rave. But Lin also tapped into salsa and merengue—and he demonstrated an uncanny gift for writing evocative Broadway ballads. It didn’t make sense that a first-time songwriter could do so many disparate things so well. Plus he had enough charisma to play Usnavi, the bodega owner at the heart of the show.

    Who was this guy?

    I didn’t know. But I was happy to see his show transfer to Broadway, where it won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. And I was glad, and not at all shocked, to see Lin’s star rise and rise (and rise and rise). After I left the magazine, Lin and I became friends, so I got to watch the ascent up close. (I saw the parabolic part, when he wrote and starred in Hamilton, from very close. We co-authored a book about the show: Hamilton: The Revolution.)

    So imagine my surprise to discover, years after that night in 2007, that I hadn’t grasped the most extraordinary thing about the show after all.


    One day in 2019, Lin called with an idea: Let’s write a book about In the Heights.

    The show had closed on Broadway eight years earlier, but the timing was right. Warner Bros. was turning it into a major motion picture, directed by Jon M. Chu. I liked the notion of tracing the musical’s many lives. Lin had gotten the idea for the show in college, when the prospect of it one day going to Broadway was the longest of long shots. But somehow Heights got there—and now, after many false starts and setbacks, it was making another leap to the big screen. I also liked the idea of revisiting themes and people we’d written about in our earlier book. It would be a kind of sequel, even though a lot of the action takes place before Hamilton. Like The Godfather Part II, but in a bodega.

    It was only when I started doing interviews—more than fifty, by the end—that I came to see the extraordinary thing I hadn’t discerned in 2007. Again and again, people said that working on Heights felt...

About the Author-

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda is an award-winning composer, lyricist, and performer, as well as the recipient of a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award. His most recent musical, Hamilton—book, music, and lyr­ics by Miranda; he also originated the title role—opened on Broadway in 2015. Hamilton was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and earned a record-breaking sixteen Tony Award nominations, winning eleven Tonys, including two for Miranda personally for Best Book and Best Score of a Musical. Miranda’s first Broadway musical, In the Heights, received four 2008 Tony Awards (including Best Orchestrations, Best Choreography, and Best Musical). Miranda contributed music, lyrics, and vocals to several songs in Disney’s feature film Moana, earning him an Oscar nomination and a Grammy Award for the original song “How Far I’ll Go.” He lives in New York City with his wife, sons, and dog.
     
    Quiara Alegría Hudes is the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright of Water by the Spoonful and the author of a memoir, My Broken Language. She wrote the book for the Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights and later adapted it for the screen. Her notable essays include “High Tide of Heartbreak” in American Theatre magazine and “Corey Couldn’t Take It Anymore” in The Cut. As a prison reform activist, Hudes and her cousin founded Emancipated Stories, a platform where people behind bars can share one page of their life story with the world. She lives with her family in New York but frequently returns to her native Philly.
     
    Jeremy McCarter is the author of Young Radicals and co-author, with Lin-Manuel Miranda, of the #1 New York Times bestseller Hamilton: The Revolution. He is the founder and executive producer of Make-Believe Association, a Chicago-based production company. He spent five years on the artistic staff of the Public Theater and has served on the jury of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He has written about culture and politics for New York magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. He lives in Chicago with his family.

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