Today the 2012 Tony Awards Clip Countdown continues with a look at the 2008 Best Musical winner, Lin-Manuel Miranda's IN THE HEIGHTS. Possessing a contemporary and classification-defying sound and style all its own, IN THE HEIGHTS is one of the most important modern musicals if only for the reason that it cemented the place of rap on Broadway and exhibited that hip-hop could be used to excellent effect in creating character, setting a tone, creating a mood and conveying the story over the course of a musical. Based in part on Miranda's own life growing up in New York, IN THE HEIGHTS is responsible for bringing one of the most vital sounds in modern music to the Broadway stage, and, also, for solidifying the place of a Broadway baby born and bred as a Tony Award-winning superstar leading man on the Great White Way - Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Capturing lighting in a bottle - in much the same way that RENT did more than a decade before - IN THE HEIGHTS is a cultural milestone in not only the sound of Broadway but also the people being portrayed. Comprised of a cast of mostly Latin Americans and Spanish-descended individuals, IN THE HEIGHTS gave voice to a very vocal minority who had previously not been celebrated and dissected on a Broadway stage in quite as grand a manner before. By bringing in the many musical sounds of Latin America while also incorporating hip-hop, rap and pop - as well as traditional musical theatre fare, too - Miranda wove together a masterful tapestry of music that at once pays homage to its roots and also creates something altogether fresh, exciting and new from all of the disparate parts. Plus, what an electrifying original cast IN THE HEIGHTS had singing that score, as well!
See the entire cast of characters from IN THE HEIGHTS, led, of course, by the MC Usnavi himself, in this enticing medley from the 2008 Tony Awards.
Now, see Lin-Manuel take home the Tony Award for Best Original Score at the 2008 Tony Awards ceremony.
As a special bonus, check out this hilarious clip of Lin-Manuel and writing partner Tommy Kail filming themselves backstage as they write Neil Patrick Harris's closing number for the 2011 Tony Awards (a performance previously featured in this countdown).
For a taste of Lin-Manuel's next musical masterpiece after BRING IT ON! in August, check out this performance of the forthcoming ALEXANDER HAMILTON at the White House Poetry Jam - for the pleasure of the current president himself, Barack Obama, no less. It already sounds like a hit!
So, what is the aspect of IN THE HEIGHTS that appeals to you most? Is it the of-this-minute score, the touching domestic drama or the indescribable spirit and vitality of the entire show? Furthermore, before ALEXANDER HAMILTON arrives, are you prepared for Lin-Manuel's next sure-to-be-smash, BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL, co-composed with NEXT TO NORMAL Tony Award-winner Tom Kitt? It's only a few months away - get your tickets while you can!