Kenny Ortega to Direct IN THE HEIGHTS

     December 15, 2009

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Variety is reporting that director/choreographer Kenny Ortega (High School MusicalThis is It) will now helm the big screen adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, In the Heights, after leaving the planned Footloose remake earlier this year.  The musical covers three days in the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, “where a bodega owner who inherited his grandfather’s lottery windfall plots his retirement to a Dominican Republic beach. As he bids farewell to his customers on the block, he becomes conflicted about leaving behind a group that has become family.”  Lin-Manuel Miranda will reprise his starring role (he also wrote the lyrics and music) and Quiara Alegria Hudes, who wrote the show, will be adapting the script to the screen.

Universal will be producing the film and I have to give them some credit for not deciding to replace Miranda with a big name star.  The film is part of Universal’s plan to make more musicals after the success that they have had recently at the box office with such films as Mamma Mia! and Hairspray.  The studio is currently moving ahead with their big screen adaptation of Wicked, their plans to make a sequel to Mama Mia!, and have also recently hired composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray) to create a musical based on a soon to be launched Mattel toyline that “aspires to add a new twist to monster lore.”

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