"We close on Sunday in Miami," Morales told me. "Our 500th show will be our closing night."
Morales has starred as Usnavi for about half those performances, he says.
"Usnavi is one of those roles that you've got to come out of the gate running. It's your responsibility to set up the energy of the show, to introduce all these characters," Morales says. "That's a lot of responsibility. Also, following Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the show and starred in it, there's a lot of comparisons and a lot of responsibility in that, to uphold what he has created.
In the Heights is set in New York City's Hispanic Washington Heights neighborhood and features a hip-hop/merengue/soul score by Miranda.
"It's very different to do a show like this here in Miami with people who actually relate to it, who see themselves on the stage, as opposed to doing it in Ohio, which is equally amazing, but the audience for the most part is being educated, and they don't necessarily relate," Morales says.
Photos by STEVE ROTHAUS / Miami Herald Staff