Gotta Hear the Music to "In the Heights"

A few weeks ago, I taught a class at the Brookline Community Education Center. I met a woman who gave me a copy of the soundtrack for the current Broadway show "In the Heights". I thanked her, popped it in my car on the way home and have been obsessed ever since. So much so that I have contemplated driving to NYC for the day to see it! Now, do I know the plot? Very limited and I only have half the soundtrack, the first 12 songs. That's all I need though.

First, let me mention that this show won four Tony Awards in 2008. One of the awards was Best Musical. The show takes place in Washington Heights, an hispanic section of the Bronx. It is the story of a girl, Nina Rosario, who "makes it out" and goes to Stanford, only to feel that she didn't fit in. She drops out and comes home. The story is told through the eyes of a young man, Usnavi, the local coffee shop owner.

So what makes this music so great? It is a thoroughly exciting mashing of funk, hip-hop and latino rhythms. The musical opens with a rap by Usnavi with background latino rhythms and instruments. Then their is the harmony and melodies, so beautiful behind the backdrop of folk guitar. And the singing is gorgeous as well... really strong and full of emotion.

I sure hope to see this musical before it leaves Broadway. If you see it, let me know what you think!


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