Monday, February 16, 2009

Javier Munoz is the New Tour Guide of "In the Heights" starting 2/16

One of the best and hottest shows on Broadway has a new grate-keeper, Javier Munoz! "In the Heights" won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical and has been doing bang up business ever since it started Off-Broadway. In all honesty the show is high energy with great dancing and pretty good music but doesn't quite do it for me personally. However, I am definitely in the minority, because everyone I know that has seen it, loves it!
Now having played just over a year on Broadway it is starting to lose some key performers like Lin-Manuel Miranda. Tony Award-winning songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda created the role, and was nominated as Best Actor in a Musical for his charismatic turn. Miranda exited the show Feb. 15. They also lost Karen Olivia who played Vanessa. She has moved on to play Anita in the new revival of "West Side Story" which is going to be the new mega hit on Broadway I'm sure. Miranda is also involved with West Side Story doing the American to Spanish translations. It begins previews next Monday 2/23 at the Palace Theatre.
Muñoz joined In the Heights for a reading in 2005 and has been involved ever since — in the ensemble and as understudy for the lead role of "Usnavi" at the O'Neill Theater Workshop, in the 2007 Off-Broadway run and the current Broadway production. Usnavi is the hip-hop-friendly Dominican narrator and guide of the romantic musical comedy about the yearning denizens — and the changing face — of the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights. "Javi played Usnavi in those crucial moments when I needed to step out and watch the show as composer," Miranda said in a statement. "He's evolved in tandem with the role and helped me to discover qualities and nuance in this character that I may not have otherwise known. I'm proud to be handing the hat over to such a talented man."
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