This isn’t a review, nor anything similar, it’s just a reflection.
As you may know, I’m a little bit obsessed with the musical genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda, and what was it that introduced me to him? In The Heights. Back in 2014, I discovered the musical ‘In The Heights’, written by one Lin, and instantly fell in love with the music. For a long while, I feel like I underappreciated Lin as a person, as I didn’t really fully immerse myself in the world of Lin until late 2015 (it actually happened on holiday- My holiday playlist mostly consisted of Hamilton and Heights and, well, it was beautiful), but the music was something I always adored. Despite not giving the talented man himself some recognition until over a year after falling in love with his words, his score, his music saved me back then, and it transformed my life. Still, I cling onto it. My Top 25 iTunes tracks are all written or performed by Lin (In The Heights, Hamilton, Moana…) and my I listen to the mentioned soundtracks to fall into my safe place. I listen to them Non-Stop (note the pun) and honestly, Lin changed and saved me in indescribable ways.
Considering this and my never ending love for Heights, how could I not book tickets to the closing night of the off-West End show?
Honestly, it was incredible. There were cheers every time someone spoke (which I would usually condemn for the rowdiness in a theatre, but it was different this time), standing ovations after every song… The audience was pumped and so were the cast (and literally, I hear from the rumours that the shots in the club were real…). A favourite moment I have to pick out is post-Carnival del Barrio. Gosh, the cast had to stop the show to allow the standing ovation and five minute long round of applause to finish. Sam, Usnavi (or should I say UKnavi!) even sat down on the stairs for some of it. It. Was. Incredible.
I have to say, I think Arun was my favourite Benny of all time, especially on closing night. He absolutely smashed it. Him and Gaby Garcia (the most gracious human on planet earth) compliment each other so well, too. Generally, it was phenomenal, so keep your eye out for a review in the future but I just wanted a moment of appreciation for this 11/10 musical.
It’s time for me to tell you some lines that got to me:
- “Maybe this night is out last night together.”
- “When the end is so close you can taste it.”
- “Today’s all we got, so we cannot stop.”
These wouldn’t usually get to me, but for the final performance, I didn’t realise how much they’d shake me up. I also started shaking when I heard the first note of ‘finale’ playing… I knew the end was coming and I couldn’t face it.
Post-performance, I was sobbing my eyes out, for many reasons. The show, the cast, the end.. Everything. As they gave their speeches, I was NOT emotionally stable. Then, another person was creditted… The incredible creator of a show that changed my entire being, Lin-Manuel Miranda was thanked and welcomed onto the stage. I couldn’t breathe, I was in the same room as Lin. But hours later, something extraordinary happened. Everyone was waiting at the stage door to meet and congratulate the phenomenal cast, and after doing this, everyone went home, until it got to the last few of us. I got chatting to four lovely girls (Megan, Alicia, Alex and Helen) and accidentally ended up having a mothers meeting with them before getting the train. After a solid half an hour or so of chatting, we saw the show’s director walking down the street beside us and looked at him in awe, but he was followed by something that made us Lose. Our. Cool. A ‘Yay Hamlet’ was muttered by someone, so I subsequently yelled ‘Yay Hamlet’ and caught the attention of one Lin-Manuel Miranda. He looked at me and shouted ‘Yay Hamlet’, stopping and edging towards us as we approached him. Though he didn’t have much time as a car was waiting or him, we chatted to him and he told us we all had to be friends now- we’d agreed five minutes prior that, of course, we’d stay in contact, but this really sealed the deal. Lin took my phone and kept clicking the photo button; He took eleven selfies on my phone. we have eleven pictures with L(egend)in-Manuel. After he rushed off, I began speaking to Natalie and Scott, others who also were in the photo and they’d both lovely and people I’ve made friends with, too.
Of course, following this, we made a group chat and I made some incredible friends. Despite being so emotional, closing night of In The Heights has to be one of the greatest nights of my life, and definitely 2017. I really hope you got to see the show before it closed, but if not… LISTEN TO THE SOUNDTRACK.
I hope you all appreciate it as much as I do,
Love always, Lauren xxx