“In the Heights” is moving uptown. The Off Broadway tuner has set its sights on Broadway, closing July 15 in preparation for a Rialto bow next season.
The well-reviewed musical — which recently picked up awards from the Outer Critics, the Lucille Lortel Foundation and the Drama Desk, among others — has played at 37 Arts since January.
With 22 performers, seven musicians and a capitalization of $2.5 million, “In the Heights” always seemed too large scale for an extended stay off the main stem, despite assurances from producers Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller and Jill Furman that the production could make a profit Off Broadway.
Seller cited the unusually wide appeal of the show, across auds of all ages, as a major reason for the move.
“It’s sold well,” he said. “But we want more. This is a musical that can benefit from the broader audience and the worldwide brand that Broadway provide. What we gain will be exponential.”
Including the cost of the Off Broadway incarnation, the Rialto transfer will be capitalized at under $10 million, according to Seller.
Gossip surfaced recently that the musical had already been slated for a particular Broadway house, but producers say an exact theater has not been nailed down. One venue floated by the rumor mill was the St. James, which will host the limited seasonal run of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” over the holidays.
Off Broadway version of “Heights” closes this summer to allow composer-lyricist-thesp Lin-Manuel Miranda a break from performing in the show, giving him time to fine tune the story (with book writer Quiara Alegria Hudes). Seller anticipates the addition and subtraction of a couple of songs, as well as a concentration on honing the second act.
Plot follows a few days in the life of a close-knit neighborhood, centered around the regulars at a corner bodega.
Show scored the top Off Broadway tuner prize from both the Outer Critics and the Lucille Lortels. Miranda won an Obie for his music and lyrics and also nabbed performance awards from two other orgs. Andy Blankenbuehler won choreography trophies from both the Outer Critics and Lortels.
An exact timeline for the Broadway transfer has not been set, but Seller said the production will be ready whenever the appropriate Rialto real estate opens up. “When it does, we’ll take it and we’ll go,” he said.