By David Crow

The In the Heights movie is finally here—join us as we chronicle Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical opus, from humble college beginnings all the way to Broadway.

In the Heights arrives like a joyful summer breeze for fans of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton.

But it’s worth remembering In the Heights was Miranda’s original calling card...

One which took him all the way from college dormitories to Broadway, and now Hollywood.

Miranda wrote the first draft of In the Heights at age 19 while a sophomore at Wesleyan University.

And he only added freestyle rap and salsa music after Second Stage, the student theater company, agreed to mount it.

Originally a hyper 80-minute one-act play that opened in 2000, it was described as “hip-hop Rent.”

It also caught the eye of several Wesleyan seniors and alumni, including director Thomas Kail.

They approached Miranda about turning it into a show that could run on Broadway.

Miranda worked on five different drafts with Kail before playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes was brought in to write the book for Miranda’s music.

The result was the first professional production of In the Heights, which played out of town in Waterford, Connecticut in 2005.

It then moved over to Off-Broadway in 2007 and finally the Great White Way’s Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2008.

In the Heights blew audiences and critics away, leading to four Tony nominations and three wins…

Including Best Original score for Miranda and Best Musical.

All of which led to Miranda and Kail’s next  collaboration…

And he revealed it at the Obama White House in 2009: a musical about Alexander Hamilton.

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