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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve heard the name Lin-Manuel Miranda. The writer-actor-producer-director became a household name when Hamilton became a global sensation, but his first Broadway musical was In the Heights. A movie version helmed by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is in theaters now, and Miranda revealed some A+ cameos you might have missed.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the cast and crew of In the Heights ahead of its release, including Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. After confirming that he snuck his parents into a beloved musical number, Miranda also revealed other cameos you might have missed, including members of In the Heights’ Original Broadway Cast. As he explained in the video above,
Just to give you a couple more cameos. Seth Stewart, our original Graffiti Pete, is the bartender in the club. You can hear vocalists; all of the vocals for the movie are basically our original and first national tour casts. So like, I hear Javier Muñoz is actually the voice of the guy asking Vanessa to dance in the club. I can hear Janet Dacal as the voice saying ‘I’ve never been north of 96th street.’ There’s all these little Easter eggs.
I mean, how cool is that? Because on top of the physical cameos that you can spot, it turns out that In the Heights’ soundtrack is full of vocal easter eggs as well. And for the hardcore fans of the musical, they’ll be delighted to learn many OG’s made their way into the film adaptation.
As Lin-Manuel Miranda mentioned, quite a few original Broadway In the Heights actors make their way into the movie’s 143-minute runtime. We can see the original Graffiti Pete Seth Stewart in the explosive musical number “The Club” that occurs around halfway through the movie. Janet Dacal created the role of Carla on Broadway, so it’s exciting to hear her voice in the opening number.
In the Heights is available for a limited time on HBO Max. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
Throughout “The Club” Javier Muñoz can also be heard. Muñoz inherited the lead role of Usnavi from Miranda himself when In the Heights was still on Broadway. His collaboration with the acclaimed multihyphenate would continue in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton, with Muñoz being an alternate for the title character alongside Miranda before eventually taking on the role full-time.
In our same conversation, Lin-Manuel Miranda also revealed how late In the Heights actress Doreen Montalvo was able to reprise her iconic vocal solos. Montalvo died in October of last year, making her role in the new movie all the more emotional. In his words,
And then of course the late, great Doreen Montalvo, who was in every version of In the Heights from 2002 to this movie sings her part in ‘Breathe.’ The part where she sings ‘Mira, Nina.’ That’s Doreen, and she passed away last year. And I’m so glad that we were able to immortalize her performance in the movie.
Doreen Montalvo can be seen singing to Nina in “Breathe” but her vocals are also featured later during In the Heights. She’s the vocalist on Abuela Claudia’s record and the finale, singing “Siempre” just as gorgeous as she did on stage.
Clearly In the Heights is a labor of love, both on the stage and on the big screen. Lin-Manuel Miranda wore a ton of hats as writer, producer, and cast member. And soon Miranda will unveil his directorial debut on Netflix with the film adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick… Boom!
In the Heights is in theaters now. Be sure to check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.