“In the Heights,” which won four Tonys, was inspired both by the New York streets Miranda called home and the characters he met during his summers in Puerto Rico.
The 2008 musical revolves around a neighborhood in Washington Heights, in upper Manhattan, and it drips with the everyday drama of its residents’ personal lives.
When 23-year-old Miranda first shopped the musical, a big-deal Broadway producer offered to finance the production — if he would change the storyline of one of the main characters, Nina Rosario. Nina’s the first in her family to go to college, but comes back to the neighborhood as a failure.
The producer told Miranda that dropping out of college wasn’t a plot line he felt invested in. Thomas Kail, his director, convinced Miranda to stick to his story. They walked away from the deal and made the musical they wanted, five years later.
The show ran on Broadway until 2011, recouping its initial $10 million dollar investment in 10 months. Its gross earnings to date: more than $100 million.