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File:Intheheights 8112.jpg

 "Light's up/ on Washington Heights, up/ at the break of day/ I wake up/ and I got this little punk I gotta chase away."

So begins Lin-Manuel Miranda's 2008 Broadway hit. Set in the neighbourhood Washington Heights of NYC, In the Heights is a musical covering three days in the lives of its colorful characters. Usnavi, the main character, runs his family's bodega with his young cousin, Sonny. Vanessa, the oblivious target of Usnavi's attraction, works herself to exhaustion to buy her way to a better life. The Rosarios run their taxi business and support their brilliant young daughter, Nina.

In the Heights is especially notable for being the first Broadway musical of its kind, a combination of rap, hip-hop and Latin. Needless to say, it's some kind of awesome.

Warning: Soundtrack is guaranteed to lead to side effects of toe-tapping, humming and spontaneous dancing.


Provides examples of:

  • Annoying Younger Cousin: Sonny
    • Subverted in that Sonny is fairly intelligent with a comically strong vocabulary (he seems to take after Usnavi a bit) and interest in politics and social activism. He also has shades of being the Only Sane Man as his introspections on what Usnavi's departure and the closing of the surrounding shops means for the community causes him to despair when others are partying.
  • Arc Words: "Paciencia y Fe" (Patience and Faith). Also might count as a Catch Phrase, for Abuela.
    • "No pare, sigue, sigue!"."
  • Author Avatar: Usnavi, obviously, as the creator played him on Broadway (and he named his character's Love Interest after his wife).
  • Beta Couple: Benny and Nina...which is an odd example, because they're given as much stagetime and development as the Official Couple.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed:

 Daniela: They say he's got quite a big..taxi.

Carla: I don't think I know what you mean.

Daniela: Carla! He's packing a stretch limosine!

  • Bittersweet Ending: There's some happy endings, some sad and everyone's lives have changed. Benny and Nina in particular They're going to be forced to have a long distance relationship without the approval of her dad. But they have each other
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Oh, Usnavi.

 "Damn, this is nice/I really like what they've done with the lights/so the hot club in Washington Heights!/You might be right, this music's tight/Yo, did I mention that you look great tonight?/Because you do you really-"

"Usnavi, relax!"

    • Oh, Vanessa.

 Vanessa: You oughta stay/ You can use that money to fix this place/ And it's not like Sonny's got role models stepping up to the plate./ I'm just saying, I think your vacation can wait...

Usnavi: What are you trying to say?

Vanessa: You're leaving the country and we're never gonna see you again!

Usnavi: What are you trying to say?

Vanessa: You get everyone addicted to your coffee and off you go!

Usnavi: Vanessa, I don't know why you're mad at me.

Vanessa: I wish I was mad!

    • Anyone looking for "artistic merit" to justify this awesome play to Broadway purists can point out that Champagne (both song and object) is a complex metaphor for Usnavi and Vanessa's unspoken feelings (and their inability to admit them).
  • Crowd Song: "In The Heights", "96,000", "Blackout", "Carnaval del Barrio", and "Finale".
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose In Life: Nina
  • Daddy's Girl: Nina, even though she and Kevin begin arguing more and more during the show.
  • Dawson Casting: Several of the characters, most notably Nina and Sonny
    • Averted in the Philippine production. K-La Rivera was 19 when they started rehearsals.
  • The Ditz: Carla
  • Ear Worm
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Piragua Guy, Graffiti Pete.
  • Evolving Music: In 96,000, Sonny sings "What about immigration/Politicians be hating/Racism in this nation's gone from latent to blatant". After some high-profile political racefail hit the news, the line was changed to "Arizona be hating".
  • Final Love Duet: Two. "Champagne" for Usnavi and Vanessa and "When the Sun Goes Down" for Nina and Benny.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Well, of course. Everyone but Benny is Hispanic.
    • Usually for comical reasons, or at times when the heritage of the cast is highlighted, such as:

 Carla: Dani, I have a question; I don't know what you're cantando.

Daniela: Just make it up as you go. We are improvisando!

  Nina: Straighten the spine, smile for the neighbors/ Everything's fine, everything's cool...

  • Team Mom: Abuela Claudia.
    • Usnavi seems to take over the role after the finale, acting as the "street-light" for the community--providing illumination, learning and passing on their shared stories and heritages, and binding them together. And, of course, providing sweet, sweet coffee.
  • The Musical: Book kind
  • Token Non-Latino: Benny, who is almost always played by a black man, though theoretically could be played any other ethnicity.
    • Graffiti Pete can be any ethnicity as well, the most common being Latino and white.
  • The One Who Made It Out: Double subverted with Nina. She dropped out of Stanford, but is going back in the fall.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The Piragua Guy gets a pretty funny one.
  • True Companions: With Abuela acting as grandmother to the entire street, it made everyone feel a little more like family.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Inferred about Usnavi/Vanessa and Nina/Benny.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Well, they are in New York...
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