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Maria Talbert
IU Auditorium

Last modified: Monday, February 13, 2012

'In the Heights' making debut appearance at IU Auditorium

WHAT: "In the Heights"
WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, and Wednesday, Feb. 29
WHERE: IU Auditorium
TICKETS: $20 to $41 for IU Bloomington students with a valid ID and for children and $38 to $60 for general public, on sale now. Tickets may be purchased online at, in person at the IU Auditorium Box Office, through, at all Ticketmaster outlets or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. The IU Auditorium Box Office is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Feb. 13, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- "In the Heights," a classic musical with a contemporary twist about a vibrant community of immigrants in New York City, is coming to IU Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, and Wednesday, Feb. 29.

Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda began writing the storyline and music for "In the Heights" when he was a sophomore at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He drew inspiration from his upbringing in the Puerto Rican and Dominican populated neighborhoods of northern Manhattan.

As a child, his Abuela Mundi (not actually his biological grandmother) helped raise him while his parents worked long hours. At night his father would play salsa music in addition to a surprising amount of Broadway tunes, while Miranda would dance to hip-hop with his friends. The young composer incorporated these elements into his production of "In the Heights" when it debuted at the student-run '92 Theater in 2000.

"In the Heights" was a huge success after its premiere at the '92 Theater, which lead to Miranda's collaboration with director Thomas Kail to rework the musical for the big stage. With the help of producers Jill Furman, Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller -- whose previous work on Broadway included "Rent," "Avenue Q" and "The Drowsy Chaperone" -- "In the Heights" debuted at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in Connecticut in 2005. Two years later, the hit musical found a home at Off-Broadway's 37 Arts Theatre in New York City.

During its Off-Broadway run at 37 Arts, "In the Heights" quickly became an audience phenomenon and a critical success. It won Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Ensemble Performance and Outstanding Choreography. Just a year later, the musical premiered on Broadway. In 2008, "In the Heights" won four Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

"In the Heights" features dynamic characters from Washington Heights, a barrio (neighborhood) populated mostly by immigrants who are trying to preserve cultural traditions while exploring everything the United States has to offer. Local bodega owner and main character Usnavi opens the musical with the song "In the Heights," which sets the stage and introduces the characters.

Other hit songs include "It Won't Be Long Now," which reflects Vanessa's desire to rent her own apartment in downtown Manhattan, and "Inútil," sung by Kevin when he cannot afford to pay his daughter's college tuition. Each character has his or her own story full of hope, love and dreams.

"'In the Heights' deservedly won Broadway's highest honors by first winning the hearts of its fans through its vibrant characters that hold on to past traditions and hope for a bright tomorrow while overcoming hardships in an increasingly challenging world," IU Auditorium director Doug Booher said. "Audience members will not be able to resist falling in love with the musical's characters because of the inspiring music, enticing salsa and hip-hop-inspired dance and real world dialogue."

For more information on "In the Heights" and the rest of the 2011-12 season, visit The website features video clips and a selection of songs from this season's performances, in addition to a direct link to the IU Auditorium Facebook page and Twitter feed, whose followers receive exclusive benefits throughout the year.

"In the Heights" at IU Auditorium is sponsored by BKD, Classic Touch Limousine Service and the Indiana Memorial Union. IU Auditorium's 2011-12 season is presented by Curry Auto Center, B97, The Herald-Times and IU Residential Programs and Services.