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In The Heights

In The Heights

June 3, 2008
4.7 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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  • Sample this album
    Title by Artist
    0:00 / 0:00
1
7:38
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2
4:01
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3
2:15
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4
4:32
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5
2:49
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6
2:26
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7
5:31
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8
4:52
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9
5:20
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10
1:51
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11
5:58
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12
3:57
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Disc 2
1
4:07
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2
3:39
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3
2:35
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4
7:24
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5
0:53
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6
3:15
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7
3:54
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8
0:52
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9
2:44
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10
2:32
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11
5:28
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Product Details

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven Valenti on June 3, 2008
Format: Audio CD
"In the Heights," the new musical with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, comes across vibrantly on this deluxe 2-disc cast recording. It's the best Latin-themed musical score since Paul Simon's "The Capeman." (Actually it might be the ONLY one since then, but nice that the field is growing!)

The show is set in the New York neighborhood of Washington Heights over a couple of days, where Latinos of various backgrounds converge and mingle with each other-- particularly with Usnavi, a young shopkeeper played with unyielding charisma by Miranda himself. There are a couple of romances, despair over debts and futures, neighborhood gossip, some business about the lottery, a blackout, and to be honest, more than a few clichés that had the cynic in me squirming a bit. The emphasis is on depicting a specific N.Y. community (echoes of "Rent"), and the plot elements are pretty formulaic, to be sure. But if I do wish the characters had more original things to sing about, that's okay-- the music is much too enjoyable not to be lenient.

Mixing a variety of styles, the score is thoroughly modern and Latin-flavored. There are salsas, pop ballads, and-- most surprisingly-- a significant amount of rap (assigned mostly to Miranda's Usnavi). Of course, various composers have successfully incorporated other genres-- classical, opera, pop, rock, country, jazz, etc. -- into past shows. But with "In the Heights," Miranda has really broken new ground for the use of rap in musicals. True, rap has been used before in musicals from time to time, but not this skillfully-- this is the first time I didn't find myself cringing. Lots of credit to Miranda for that--for his performance and for his nimble lyrics, which make it all work seamlessly.
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Format: Audio CD
Though not quite reaching the level of "Rent" or "West Side Story", "In The Heights" is marvelous & feels a bit like a cross between these classic shows.

Conceived, scored and led by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show recieved 13 well-deserved Tony nominations in a season that the revivals ("South Pacific", "Gypsy", and "Sunday In The Park With George") garnered noticeably more attention ... and walked away with the big prize, "Best Musical".

In addition to Mr. Miranda, the cast includes Robin De Jesus (Tony-nominee & terrific in the movie "Camp"), Mandy Gozalez, Christopher Jackson, Priscilla Lopez (Tony-winner from "A Chorus Line"), and the amazing Olga Merediz (Tony-nominee).

The score is a mixture of pop, Latin, and hip-hop influences and sounds better and better with repeated listenings. Best tracks:

In The Heights
Breathe
96,000
Paciencia Y Fe (Patience And Faith)
When You're Home
Blackout
Sunrise
Enough
Everything I Know

Terrific Show/CD: 4 1/2 stars
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Format: Audio CD
If Spring Awakening wasn't enough to convince you last year that Broadway is back and better than ever, then Lin-Manuel Miranda's "In the Heights" should. The music and lyrics are pure gold, seamlessly fusing latin and modern musical theatre into one of the best scores to grace Broadway in recent history. Miranda's work has brought Broadway back into the mainstream. Is this a bad thing? Most certainly not. "In the Heights" understands that there are more people to reach than the traditional stuffy theatre-goer. It reaches a much broader audience with modern music and lyrics that are smart, melodic, and fresh.

Though every song stands out, there are a few with extra special moments. The title song is probably one of the best openers in recent Broadway history. "It Won't Be Long Now" has fantastic lyrics (as I sweep the curb, I can hear those turbo engines blazing a trail through the sky) and melody that will be in your head for days, in the good way. "96,000" follows the trail of traditional hip-hop, though the lyrics are extremly witty. The Act I finale, "Blackout", boats exteremly lush chords and writing.

The performances themselves are equally powerful. The show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, plays Usnavi, the quasi-narrator of the show. His performance doesn't merely tell a story, but invites you to be a part of it. Vanessa, Usnavi's evasive love interest, is played by big-voiced Karen Olivo. Nina, homeward bound college student, is brought to life by Mandy Gonzalez. Her power ballad, "Everything I Know", is also one of the show's strongest songs. Abuela Claudia, the mother figure that ties the characters together, is portrayed with a pure honesty by Olga Merediz, whose voice could outsing even Wicked's biggest stars.

If "In the Heights" is really the future of broadway, then that future is very bright. This is a must have for your collection.
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The emotions felt through the firey music need no translator: English or Spansih it is all the same. The lives of these people and their home in Washington Heights are lived daily and with as much passion as anywhere in the world. The latin style music and frequent lyrics in Spanish only emphasize the emotion of the story. This is not some used plot turned hispanic to create a new audience....this is the voice of those who imigrated and built families here. The values of their lives; family, work and self worth and how they keep themsleves going toward the dream they have...that we all have for our lives. The use of rap to bring more current the social and musical culture of the people is blended with more traditional latin based music as well as comtemporary music. This is not a work that can be sectioned out by track...while some stand alone and can be enjoyed for what they are; together they help to convey the full experience of the work as a whole.
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