Lin-Manuel Miranda, Wesleyan alum, is currently a big deal in New York theater circles with his Latin and hip-hop musical, “In the Heights“. The $2.5 million Off Broadway production is a fully realized version of a play he put on his sophomore year at Wesleyan before graduating with honors in theater studies, and is getting great reviews in its early run.
At Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., he moved into the Latino student house; one summer in college he got a job covering Washington Heights for Manhattan Times, which became a kind of seminar course on the neighborhood and its residents.When he decided to write a musical for a theater on campus, he drew on the boleros and traditional Latin sounds he had mostly ignored growing up, and the wordplay of lyrically dexterous rap groups like the Pharcyde and Black Sheep he listened to in high school. The early version of “In the Heights” was a campus hit his sophomore year.
A history of how the show got produced:
You’re 27. Here Are Millions to Stage Your Musical
And a profile of the artist: Heights Before Broadway