Lin-Manuel Miranda has become increasingly well-known, and rapidly, but for a very good reason: he is a genius. For those that don’t know anything about musical theatre (you’re missing out!), Miranda is the writer of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton (which tells the story of one of the US Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton), but before this, he wrote another hit musical: In The Heights.
The plot takes place over three days, in a Dominican-American neighbourhood of Washington Heights, in New York City. The songs are a clash of Hip-Hop and Rap with Latin American music, but it really works well together! (Just don’t go into it thinking it is a traditional music.) The characters were so easy to connect with: I laughed, loved and cried along with all of them and their care-free, carry-on attitude. The performances by all the cast were brilliant. My favourite character had to be Usnavy – the main lead and narrator of the story. You can easily see the style and attitude of Lin-Manuel in the character, as well as the similarities with the protagonist of Hamilton (which makes sense really, given they’re the characters he played when both musicals opened!).
But what hit me most about this musical was the energy. Even after the very first song, I knew this would be a great production – I just sat there, mouth open, staring in shock. The choreography was just incredible! (There’s a very good reason why they won a Tony AND Olivier for it.) I don’t think I’ve ever been so stunned and lost for words after watching a production – and I mean that in the best way possible.
I honestly think Lin-Manuel Miranda has created something incredible with his musicals: it’s new and exciting, and perhaps might just change how people look at musical theatre. But if you don’t believe me, look up the soundtrack to either of his musicals. Because I doubt you will disagree.
Lastly, I just want to say something briefly about the theatre: King’s Cross Theatre is off West-End, but just as great as the big places. The foyer is large and spacious with a buzzing atmosphere, and its position over some old railway lines makes for an interesting stage set up: it uses the two old platforms for audience seating around a traverse stage. (I have grown to love this type of staging, and having ‘platform’ printed on your ticket is a novelty too!)