Vanessa Hudgens, Eden Espinosa Join Kennedy Center Production of 'In the Heights'
The full cast includes talent from 'After Midnight,' 'On Your Feet,' 'Nine' and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original Broadway production, as well as his blockbuster followup, 'Hamilton.'
Vanessa Hudgens (Grease Live!), Eden Espinosa (Wicked) and former Hamilton castmembers Anthony Ramos and J. Quinton Johnson have joined the upcoming Kennedy Center production of In the Heights, the show that first put Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on the map.
The Kennedy Center on Tuesday announced that Hudgens is set to star as Vanessa, Espinosa as Daniela and Johnson as Benny in a new production of Miranda's 2008 debut musical, which won four Tony Awards including best musical and best score. Ramos, who originated the dual role of Philip Hamilton and John Laurens in Miranda's 2015 blockbuster, is set to take the lead role of Usnavi.
Ana Villafane (On Your Feet!) will play Nina; D.C. actor Mateo Ferro will play Sonn;, Saundra Santiago (Nine) will play Abuela Claudia; Virgil Gadson (After Midnight) will play Graffiti Pete; and Arianna Rosario (On Your Feet!) will play Carla.
Original Broadway castmembers Blanca Camacho, Rick Negron and Eliseo Roman will play Camila, Kevin and Piragua Guy, respectively.
With a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Quiara Alegria Hudes (Water by the Spoonful), In the Heights follows a network of characters over the course of three days in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood, including a bodega owner who aspires to open a bar in the Dominican Republic and a Stanford University student who has fallen in love with a boy her parents don't want her to marry until she's graduated.
Stephanie Klemons, who recently choreographed a Super Bowl ad with Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr., will direct. She previously worked with Miranda as an associate choreographer on Hamilton and Bring It On.
In the Heights is one of three musicals chosen for the Kennedy Center's inaugural season of Broadway Center Stage, which interprets Broadway musicals in "semi-staged concert format" with established theater talent.
“When planning the first Broadway Center Stage season, I knew that In the Heights had to be a part of the series,” Jeffrey Finn, vp theater producing and programming at the Kennedy Center, said Tuesday in a statement. “With Lin-Manuel Miranda’s electrifying score and moving story about home and family, this Tony Award-winning musical is timeless. Plus, I’m elated that Lin personally chose Stephanie Klemons to helm the production and put together this brilliant team.”
In the Heights is set to run March 21-25 in the Eisenhower Theater, with seven performances in total.
Updated March 23, 2018 with casting of Anthony Ramos as Usnavi.