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Divas & Superstars

Chapter 8: In the Heights Hits Broadway, Juanes Rocks en Español

[FOOTAGE: "IN THE HEIGHTS" VIDEO AND IN CONCERT]

Lights up on Washington Heights Up at the dawning I wipe down my awning Hey y'all "Good Morning"

Lin Manuel Miranda's "In the Heights," conceived during the Latin music explosion, opened to packed audiences on Broadway and was honored with the Tony award for Best Musical for 2008.

The lead character, born in the US, is torn between his allegiance to his neighborhood and his parents' homeland.

[FOOTAGE: LIN MANUEL PERFORMING "IN THE HEIGHTS"]

LIN MANUEL MIRANDA (VO) His whole being sort (OC) of reflects that, that dual identity that I think so many of us have. My parents were both born in Puerto Rico but I'm a New Yorker. I was born in Roosevelt Hospital and I, I, I love spending my summers in Puerto Rico, but I get itchy to get back.

[FOOTAGE: JUANES ON STAGE IN REHEARSAL]

Performed on a global stage, the music of Juanes, one of Latin music's brightest stars, expresses the same duality.

[FOOTAGE: JUANES IN CONCERT]

JUANES (VO) I sing in Spanish because (OC) for me singing in Spanish represents my essence, (VO) but I play my guitar in English.

In his native Medellín, Colombia, Juanes had played heavy metal, inspired by the music of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1998.

[FOOTAGE: CROWDS AT JUANES CONCERT]

JUANES (VO) So I realized that I was never going to be like the other guys, you know, the bands that I used to (OC) listen to. So I just say okay, I don't want to feel ashamed of being a Colombian. I just want to be proud of that and I want to bring all the elements from my essence and just mix it with the elements of rock music.

[FOOTAGE: JUANES IN CONCERT AND CONCERT CROWDS]

This fusion, known as rock en español has brought rock music right into the heart of Latin culture.

JUANES (VO) Most of the people think about Latin music just as one kind of music and then when you understand Latin music is so (OC) rich and so diverse and you can find from metal, punk, reggaetón, to pop, salsa, vallenato.... and it's like an ocean of different elements.

LIN MANUEL MIRANDA We are thirty-two countries. We are, you know, centuries and centuries of music.

[FOOTAGE: IN THE HEIGHTS REHEARSAL EXCERPTS - MUSIC "ABUELA'S SONG- FE Y PACIENCIA"]

(VO) One of the things we really strived for (OC) with 'Heights' is to make sure that everyone is singing in a distinct musical voice.

[FOOTAGE: IN THE HEIGHTS REHEARSAL EXCERPTS - MUSIC "ABUELA'S SONG: FE Y PACIENCIA"]

(VO) You've got Abuela Claudia uh who came here from Cuba in the forthies. (OC) Her song is a Mambo number, like dead-up old school (VO) Mambo number.

[FOOTAGE: IN THE HEIGHTS REHEARSAL EXCERPTS - MUSIC "ABUELA'S SONG: FE Y PACIENCIA" AND "CARNAVAL DE BARRIO"]

(VO) You hear salsa; you hear bomba y plena. We really tried to honor (VO) all those different influences.

[FOOTAGE: IN THE HEIGHTS REHEARSAL - MUSIC "HOME"]

(VO) Usnavi grew up in Washington Heights so he speaks, in hip hop language, (OC) which is really my generation's language, but it's heavily influenced by, by these Latin rhythms.

[FOOTAGE: IN THE HEIGHTS REHEARSAL - MUSIC "HOME"]

As he searched for a central theme for "In the Heights," Lin Manuel drew on Broadway's long tradition.

[FOOTAGE: IN THE HEIGHTS REHEARSAL - MUSIC "HOME"]

LIN MANUEL (VO) A template we looked at a lot was "Fiddler on the Roof," and one of the things they did in "Fiddler on the Roof" constantly, was to say what is the show about? What is about? It's about tradition. (OC) It took us a long time to find what that word was for us, and that word became home.

[FOOTAGE: IN THE HEIGHTS REHEARSAL - MUSIC "HOME"]

(VO) Home (OC) for, for all Latinos in the United States, I think, particularly for first generation Latinos like myself, home is a loaded word.

[FOOTAGE MONTAGE: PROTEST, LOS LOBOS, SALSA HORNS, CACHAO - MUSIC "HOME"]

(VO) Where do I belong? Do I belong here? Am I supposed to back there? We have traditions from (OC) all over the world and how do we reconcile them here? What do we take with us? What do we pass on to our children?

[FOOTAGE MONTAGE: RICKY AND LUCI, LARRY HARLOW, TITO PUENTE, CELIA CRUZ, RAY BARRETTO, GLORIA ESTEFAN, JENNIFER LOPEZ, RICKY MARTIN, MARC ANTHONY, LA INDIA, LINDA RONDSTADT, CARLOS SANTANA, AUGIE AND MARGO RODRIGUEZ SPINNING, SELENA, LOS TIGRES DEL NORTE- MUSIC "HOME"]

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