SYNOPSIS: In Washington Heights, New York, a neighborhood of Latino immigrants celebrates the joys and challenges of living in New York and striving for a better life. Usnavi de La Vega runs a bodega and knows all his neighbors: his Abuela Claudia, who watched over Usnavi and all the other neighbors’ children when they were young; Vanessa, the beautiful girl Usnavi has a crush on; his cousin Sonny, who works for him in the store; Nina Rosario, the local girl who went away to Stanford, but is now back in the neighborhood after her freshman year; and Benny, who has a crush on Nina and works at her parents’ car service. The lives of these characters and others intersect in this uplifting Tony Award-winning musical about three generations of immigrants attempting to live the American dream and still hold on to their Latino heritage.
LANGUAGE: There is a small amount of strong language in the play, including one or two profanities and several vulgar expressions.
This language includes “Jesus” and “Goddamn” (several times), “up shit’s creek,” bullshit,” “bastards,” damn,” “son-of-a-bitch” and “damn (several times).”
SMOKING/DRINKING/DRUG USE: There is no smoking or drug use. The young people in the musical go to clubs, where they may drink. There is a scene in the beginning where Usnavi holds a cigarette but it does not get lit, and does not appear again.
SEX: There is no explicit sexual activity in the play. The women at the hair salon sing a song in which they gossip about who is sleeping with whom, and Nina and Benny begin a romance during which it is clear that they have spent the night together.
FOR WHICH AUDIENCES?: In the Heights is a joyous and uplifting musical with a vibrant Latin-tinged score. It is suitable for general audiences and teenaged children. Children between the ages of 5 and 12 would likely enjoy the musical, but should attend at their parents’ discretion.
RATING: If it were a movie, In the Heights would likely be rated “PG-13.”