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In The Heights: understudy Javier Mu�oz to assume the role of 'Usnavi

Javier Mu�oz, a member of In The Heights' ensemble will assume the the role of 'Usnavi' from Lin-Manuel Miranda on 16 Feb 2009.

Javier Mu�oz has been a part of the show since its first reading in 2005. He understuded the role of 'Usnavi' at the O'Neill Theater's Workshop and in the 2006 off-Broadway production, as well as on Broadway.

The musical, with book by Quiara Alegria Hudes, marked Miranda's Broadway debut, both as composer-lyricist and actor. He won the 2008 Tony Award for best composer-lyricist and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Miranda will play his final performance on 15 Feb 2009.

"Javi played 'Usnavi' in those crucial moments when I needed to step out and watch the show as composer. He's evolved in tandem with the role and helped me to discover qualities and nuance in this character that I may not have otherwise known. I'm proud to be handing the hat over to such a talented man," said Miranda.

"We didn't need to look beyond the In The Heights family to find our new 'Usnavi.' The role is so ingrained that Javier lives it onstage in a rich and powerful performance, however, his generosity of spirit as a human being is his greatest qualification for the role. The corner bodega could not be in better hands," said producer Jill Furman.

Miranda conceived of the idea of a Latino-flavoured musical ever since college, writing the first draft of In The Heights in 1999.

The show began life off-Broadway at 37 Arts Theatre, where it ran from 8 Feb - 15 Jul 2007, playing 33 preview and 182 regular performances.

That production won the 2007 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Choreographer, the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Ensemble Performance, Outer Critics' Circle Award for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Choreography, Obie Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics, and finally a Theatre World Award for Lin-Manuel Miranda.

In The Heights then transferred to Broadway, opening at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 9 Mar 2008, following previews from 14 Feb 2008, where is it currently booking through to 6 Sep 2009.

The musical opened on Broadway to mostly good to luke-warm reviews: "There is no more joyful musical to see this season." (NY Theatre Guide); "What it lacks in story and believability it makes up for in a vibrant rap- and salsa-flavored score." (NY Daily News); "Delivers a festive time that plenty of people will enjoy." (Star-Ledger); "Not a great musical. But it's about as impossible to dislike as an adorable puppy." (USA Today); "Deeply flawed and deeply pleasurable." (NY Sun) and "an uncalculated charmer. (Variety).

In The Heights: A quintessential New York musical about a vibrant and tight-knit community at the top of the island of Manhattan. The music pulses with the hopes and dreams of three generations as they struggle to forge an identity in a neighborhood on the brink of transition.

In The Heights currently stars Andr�a Burns (Daniela), Janet Dacal (Carla), Robin De Jes�s (Sonny), Rick Negr�n (Kevin), Mandy Gonzalez (Nina), Christopher Jackson (Benny), Priscilla Lopez (Camila), Olga Merediz (Abuela Claudia), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Usnavi), Marcy Harriell (Vanessa) and Seth Stewart (Graffiti Pete).

The musical is directed by Thomas Kail, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, scene design by Anna Louizos, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Howell Binkley and sound by Acme Sound Partners.

In The Heights is the winner of four 2008 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.

In The Heights is produced on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller and Jill Furman, who also produced the Off-Broadway production.

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