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All the Differences Between the ‘In the Heights’ Movie and the Original Broadway Musical

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It’s been more than 10 years since In the Heights first premiered on Broadway, bringing a new kind of musical to The Great White Waya rap-filled story of a modern-day Latinx community, with characters that felt like people you’d pass on any New York City block. But the show was groundbreaking in more ways than one; it introduced the theater world to Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s creator, who’d go on to have even greater success with his musical juggernaut Hamilton.

Now, after years of waiting, the film adaptation of In the Heights has arrived on the big screen, both in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Miranda, who originated the main role in the Broadway show, takes a step back in the film version to let a new cast shine. (Don’t worry, his cameo is perfect.) Anthony Ramos, who was part of the original Broadway production of Hamilton, leads the film as Usnavi, a bodega owner dreaming of a life in his home country, the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, he’s crushing on Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), an aspiring fashion designer; looking after Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV), his precocious cousin; and taking care of Abuela Claudia, a neighbor who became a grandmotherly figure, played by Olga Merediz (who also originated the role on Broadway). Everyone in the neighborhood has their own sueñito, or little dream, including Nina (Leslie Grace), a star student who left the neighborhood for college on the West Coast and begins to fall in love with Benny (Corey Hawkins), a hardworking dispatcher for the car service run by her father (Jimmy Smits).

The movie carries all the sparkle and pride of the original musical, but has enough plot changes to keep it feeling fresh for any longtime fans of the show. Below, discover all the major differences between the movie and the musical, though be aware: There are about 96,000 spoilers ahead.


Nina’s family

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

In the musical version of In the Heights, Nina’s (originally played by Mandy Gonzalez) father and a mother, Kevin and Camila Rosario (originally played by Carlos Gomez and Priscilla Lopez), run a local cab company. Both even have their own solo songs, “Inútil” and “Enough,” respectively. However, in the movie version, Nina’s mother has died, and while Kevin has an important role, he does not have any of his own songs.

In both versions, Nina drops out of Stanford, but she does so for different reasons. In the musical, Nina admits that, because she had to work two jobs while in school, her grades dropped and she lost her scholarship. In the movie, Nina speaks about the racism she experienced at school and the loneliness she felt being away from her community.


Nina’s relationship with Benny

in the heights movie

Macall Polay

In the film, Nina and Benny dated before Nina went off to college, but broke up when she left New York to go to Stanford. Their story is fairly straightforward—they reconnect, fall in love, spend the summer together, and decide to try long distance dating once Nina’s back at school.

Yet in the musical, their relationship is much more complicated. When the characters come together for the first time, it’s clear they have romantic feelings for each other, though it’s never implied they were a couple previously. The two begin to fall in love, but when Kevin announces he’s selling his cab company to pay for Nina’s college, Benny (originally played by Christopher Jackson) is distraught. Later that night at the club, Nina and Benny get into a fight (more on that below), but eventually make up and spend the night together. Benny worries about whether Kevin will approve of their relationship, though by the end of the show, Benny and Nina decide to date long distance once she goes back to Stanford.


Sonny’s storyline

in the heights movie

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Sonny, Usnavi’s clever cousin, is a treasured character in both the film and the musical. He works at Usnavi’s bodega and is always talking about how to tangibly make the block, and the world, a better place. In the musical, Sonny (originally played by Robin de Jesús) doesn’t have much of his own storyline beyond being Usnavi’s sidekick. But in the movie, Sonny is contending with his status as an undocumented immigrant and what that means for his future in America.

In an interview with CinemaBlend, Miranda explained why the producers decided to include a storyline about DREAMers and undocumented immigrants, saying, “To have one of the most beloved characters in the show struggling with that status, it just makes it real for people in a way that a headline doesn’t.”

The revelation of Sonny’s immigration status shifts the rest of the film, which in turn, diverges even further from the musical: Usnavi decides to use his lottery winnings to help Sonny get a green card, and Nina is inspired to go back to school to help other undocumented kids.


The winning lottery ticket

In the film version of In the Heights, we find out fairly soon that someone in the neighborhood has won the lottery, earning a payout of $96,000. But no one ever comes forward as the winner, and the ticket remains a mystery for most of the movie. It’s only after Abuela Claudia dies, and much closer to the end of the film, that Usnavi discovers she had the winning lottery ticket all along and was saving it for him. Usnavi then decides to use the money to pay for a lawyer to help Sonny get a green card.

In the musical, Usnavi actually finds out about Claudia’s winning ticket soon after the song “96,000.” Claudia decides she will give both Usnavi and Sonny one third of the money and encourages Usnavi to use the cash to travel back to the Dominican Republic. Usnavi then announces to the whole neighborhood that Claudia won the lottery in the song “Carnaval del Barrio.”


“The Club” and “Blackout” song numbers

in the heights movie

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One of the biggest plot differences comes about halfway through the movie and musical, when Usnavi and Vanessa (originally played by Karen Olivo on Broadway) go on a date to a local club. In both versions, Benny and Nina are also there, and Benny is lamenting losing his job. But in the musical version, Benny gets angry with Nina and blames her for getting him fired, since Kevin sold the company to pay for her tuition. He sings to her: “Why don’t you run home to daddy? / He loves to remind me that I’ll never be good enough for your family, for you.” Later, Benny punches a guy that Nina is dancing with, and a fight breaks out in the club, right before the blackout. Benny then tries to find Nina in the darkness and the two continue to fight before eventually making up underneath fireworks. Yet in the film, Benny and Nina don’t argue at the club at all; instead, Usnavi and Vanessa are the ones who fight on the way home in the blackout.

in the heights broadway opening night

Lin-Manuel Miranda (center), who played the original Usnavi on Broadway, stands on stage with Christopher Jackson and Andréa Burns, who originally played Benny and Daniela. In the film, Miranda makes a cameeo as the Piragüero, while Jackson makes a cameo as the Mister Softee guy.

Jason KempinGetty Images

The night of the blackout also differs quite a bit in each version of the story: In the musical, Sonny worries that people will come to rob the bodega, and he and Graffiti Pete set off fireworks partially to distract any looters. But in the movie, the blackout, while chaotic, is much less violent.


Usnavi’s future with Vanessa

in the heights movie

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Fans of Usnavi and Vanessa get an extra treat in this movie. At the end, the film jumps forward in time, where Usnavi and Vanessa are married and living in Washington Heights. We find out that Usnavi has been narrating the entire story to their daughter, a framing device that’s unique to the film. In the musical, the show simply ends in real time, and Usnavi has only decided to ask Vanessa on a second date.

in the heights on broadway

Miranda with Karen Olivio, who originally played Vanessa in the Broadway production of In the Heights.

Marc StamasGetty Images


The soundtrack

in the heights movie

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

As you may have gathered, the In the Heights plot changes quite a bit from stage to screen, all while keeping the essence and joy of the story intact. Some additional songs that were cut from the musical include “Sunrise,” sung by Nina and Benny after they spend the night together; “Hundreds of Stories,” where Usnavi and Claudia sing about what they’ll do with the lottery money; “Atención,” which Kevin sings to announce to the neighborhood that Claudia has passed away; and “Everything I Know,” which Nina sings as she reminisces about all that Claudia taught her as a child and what Claudia experienced as an immigrant leaving her home in Cuba. In the stage production, it’s after “Everything I Know” that Nina decides she’ll go back to Stanford.

In the movie, Claudia sings “Paciencia y Fe” moments before she passes away, whereas in the musical, the song comes right after “96,000” and is used to announce that she won the lottery.

And finally, filmgoers will get an extra song that doesn’t appear in the Broadway musical. The brand new tune “Home All Summer,” written by Miranda and featuring Marc Anthony (who also has a cameo in the movie), plays during the credits.

Watch In the Heights on HBO Max

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Jodie-Turner Smith Is the Face of Gucci’s New High Jewelry Collection

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Gucci is leaning deeper into decadent maximalism–and Mother Nature motifs—with the second entry in the brand’s High Jewelry collection, named Hortus Deliciarum, or “Garden of Delights.” And the Eve draped in such Biblical imagery is none other than actress Jodie Turner-Smith, whose turn in the 2019 film Queen & Slim propelled her into a starring (yet frustratingly controversial) role in the 2021 British period drama Anne Boleyn. As the new face of the Hortus Deliciarum collection (and an ELLE cover), she evokes a natural Hollywood romance that takes cues from mythology and proverb alike.

In video and imagery for the High Jewelry release, Turner-Smith is showcased draped in jewels as she takes a midnight dip accompanied by a snake and bird; Diana Ross’s “Love Hangover” pumps through the speakers. Shot by Glen Luchford with beauty by makeup artist Thomas de Kluyver and hair stylist Paul Hanlon, Turner-Smith is a vision in millennial pink, submerged in turquoise waters and accented by the silver shock of Gucci fine jewelry pieces—including a butterfly-inspired bracelet and tiara-reminiscent neckpiece.

Designed by Creative Director Alessandro Michele, the Hortus Deliciarum collection includes more than 130 pieces, many of which are one of a kind. Using what Gucci calls its “kaleidoscopic palette” and a gleeful obsession with the natural world’s excess, the jewelry includes rings, bracelets, necklaces, solitaries, and even a selection of bedazzled timepieces. With this newest campaign, Gucci seems bent on a whole-hearted embrace of summery indulgence—and, as Ross sings in the video, if there’s a cure for this, we don’t want it.

Watch the full campaign video below.

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The ‘Never Have I Ever‘ Season 2 Trailer is Here

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Netflix’s Never Have I Ever premiered on Netflix in late April and instantly became the must-watch of quarantine. The coming-of-age comedy from co-creators Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher follows a first-generation Indian American girl growing up in Southern California. Eighteen-year-old Maitreyi Ramakrishnan plays our heroine Devi Vishwakumar, and will return for a second season.

The series joins Sex Education, Atypical, and The End of the F*ing World as another teen show gripping the attention of audiences looking to relive (or not) their long-ago days of angst, puberty, and general anger and confusion about the world. Speaking as a full adult woman living in the middle of a pandemic, a lot of my feelings right now mirror those I dealt with as a 13-year-old in a landlocked state. When will I ever see the ocean? When can I leave this isolation?

Anyway. A lot of those same feelings were channeled into uncertainty about when Never Have I Ever season 2 would begin filming. Now, the cast is officially back to work and welcoming a few new members to the fold. So, what will the new installment look like, and which cast members are returning? We unpack it all, below.

The trailer is out.

The trailer, which released on Thursday, brings us up to date with Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), who is trying to figure out which of her crushes, Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison) and Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet), she should date before she has to move to India.

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Or, she decides, she could just have two boyfriends. While she is trying to figure out how she is going to handle two secret relationships, a girl Devi describes as an “Indian girl who’s prettier and cooler” transfers to her high school, effectively ruining her teen life.

Who doesn’t miss high school?! What we did miss, though, was this show—and Devi—here’s to counting down the days until we get them both back.

Never Have I Ever season 2 will premiere in July.

The series is slated to return on July 15.

Here’s how Netflix describes the new season: “Indian American teenager Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) continues to deal with the everyday pressures of high school and drama at home, while also navigating new romantic relationships.”

The first look at season 2 of Never Have I Ever.

ISABELLA B. VOSMIKOVA/NETFLIX

Netflix announced it renewed Never Have I Ever for a second season in July 2020. The cast shared the news on a scripted Zoom call, which was posted to the show’s social media accounts. Kaling shared on Instagram, writing, “It’s official, people! @neverhaveiever Season 2 is happening @loulielang and I are incredibly grateful for our entire cast, crew, and the team at @netflix. Thank you for watching, sharing and connecting with this show.”

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Kaling had been repping the show hard on Instagram, and she’s clearly delighted to see it get renewed. “I felt lucky to be able to do a show about an Indian nerd who’s also badly behaved, to show that because I’m deeply familiar with it,” Kaling told Newsweek in April 2020.

All your favorite cast members are returning.

Netflix confirmed that Maitreyi Ramakrishnan will reprise her leading role as Devi Vishwakumar, with other returning cast members including Poorna Jagannathan as Nalini, Richa Moorjani as Kamala, Jaren Lewison as Ben, Darren Barnet as Paxton, Lee Rodriguez as Fabiola, and Ramona Young as Eleanor.

never have i ever l to r ramona young as eleanor wong, lee rodriguez as fabiola torres, and maitreyi ramakrishnan as devi vishwakumar in episode 202 of never have i ever cr isabella b vosmikovanetflix © 2021

Ramona Young as Eleanor Wong, Lee Rodriguez as Fabiola Torres, and Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi Vishwakumar in season 2 of Never Have I Ever.

ISABELLA B. VOSMIKOVA/NETFLIX

Sendhil Ramamurthy will return as the Internet’s Favorite Father™ Mohan in flashbacks, as revealed by Kaling in an ELLE.com interview. “One of the things people were responding to in the first season was that [Devi] is a really flawed character, but she’s relatable because she’s been through a lot of stuff, like losing a parent at a young age,” the creator explained. “But also, she has a big personality: She wants to have sex and wants to have a boyfriend. Seeing what people liked, Lang and I went into our second season [knowing] we’re still going to see flashbacks of her father. I think people really loved that relationship, and we’re going to see if they end up moving to India or not.”

No word on if a new celebrity cameo will top John McEnroe’s season 1 narration.

The theme of the new season is ”moving on.”

If the first season of Never Have I Ever was about coming to terms with grief, season 2 is about finding a path forward, showrunner Lang Fisher explained to Entertainment Weekly. “Both Nalini and Devi had pushed it off and not dealt with their feelings about Mohan dying,” he said. “And this season, it’s about moving on. It’s about life without him and how to bounce back.”

Four new characters are joining Never Have I Ever season 2.

The series confirmed that filming had resumed in a November 23 social media video. It was also revealed Megan Suri would be joining the second season as a student. “The cast of Never Have I Ever is hard at work on Season 2 and want to introduce you to their newest co-star: @megansuri! She plays a new student at Sherman Oaks High, whose confidence and radiance will pose an immediate threat to Devi,” the official Netflix account tweeted.

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Suri is a newcomer who has appeared in other Netflix shows including Atypical and 13 Reasons Why. Suri tweeted shortly after news of her casting was revealed: “I couldn’t have imagined being welcomed into a new show and family any better – you all are so sweet and I wish I could hug you all this support means the world to me, THANK YOU @neverhaveiever.”

never have i ever l to r megan suri as aneesa in episode 204 of never have i ever cr isabella b vosmikovanetflix © 2021

Megan Suri as Aneesa.

ISABELLA B. VOSMIKOVA/NETFLIX

Another new addition to the cast is American Vandal’s Tyler Alvarez. He reportedly joins Never Have I Ever in a recurring role as Malcom, a teen actor who returns to school after being cast in a Disney Channel show. The outlet describes Alvarez’s character as “a ‘Young Hollywood’ type” who “went to elementary school with Devi and her friends but left when he was cast in a Disney Channel show. He’s recently returned to Sherman Oaks High whilst continuing his acting career.”

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By mid-December another pair of actors was announced for season 2. Utkarsh Ambudkar (The Mindy Project, Brittany Runs a Marathon) will play Mr. Kulkarni, who is described as “the coolest teacher on staff at Sherman Oaks High” by Deadline. Kulkarni teaches English and reportedly forges a bond with Devi.

premiere of showtime's "white famous"   arrivals

Michael TullbergGetty Images

P.J. Byrne (The Boys, The Wolf of Wall Street) will also join the second season, Deadline reports. He’ll play Evan, head research assistant of Kamala’s Caltech program, and will reportedly feel threatened by her.

Jeffrey MayerGetty Images


Common will romance Nalini in season 2.

Devi’s mom is getting in on the dating game this season—with a rival dermatologist. Common will play the role of Dr. Chris Jackson, a derm who conducts business a little different than Nalini. Netflix describes the character as “a suave and debonair dermatologist who works in Nalini’s building. His high-end practice and celebrity clients are impressive to everyone—except Nalini.”

never have i ever l to r common as dr jackson and poorna jagannathan as nalini vishwakumar in episode 206 of never have i ever cr isabella b vosmikovanetflix © 2021

ISABELLA B. VOSMIKOVA/NETFLIX

And as Dr. Jackson woos Nalini, Devi is sure to view it as a threat, Fisher told Entertainment Weekly. “It becomes a real chasm between Nalini and Devi, because Devi feels like it’s a betrayal.”

Devi will continue working on her anger issues in season 2.

Kaling also opened up about Devi’s journey to finding herself in the second season, telling ELLE.com, “[Devi’s] figuring out how not to rage out, because that’s her problem. She has this really bad temper. And seeing if she actually does end up having a boyfriend, or whether she can even be a good girlfriend to these guys.”

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan has hopes and dreams for Devi’s future.

The show’s star has very clear ideas about what her character should explore next season.

“Three main things—understanding that she needs to be more appreciative of her family and her friends because her friends do a lot for her,” Ramakrishnan told Variety. “Her friends really are her day ones. And also understanding where her mother’s coming from. That is something that we’ll be able to have a lot of audiences relate to, understanding where our parents are coming from even though they might not go about doing certain things the best way possible.”

Jaren Lewison as Ben Gross, Ramakrishnan as Devi, and Darren Barnet as Paxton Hall Yoshida in season 2 of Never Have I Ever.

Ramakrishnan continued, “Then also the idea of approaching that grief—confronting it, having that battle, even though it’s something uncomfortable to think about, [but] actually just running toward it and facing it, dealing with it head on. And then number three, of course, embracing her culture because that is so important in a world where identity is everything. It’s how you portray yourself. It’s how you show yourself to the world and how everybody will view you, but also how you accept yourself. And I think if Devi does those magic three, she might be a little bit more at peace with herself.”

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Demi Lovato Says Their ‘Family Has Done an Incredible Job’ Using Their Pronouns

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In an interview with Audacity, Demi Lovato shared what life has been like for them since they came out as non-binary this spring.

“You know, my family has done an incredible job, actually,” they said. “Especially my older sister, Dallas, I’ve noticed…her using ‘them’ and ‘they’ and it really does warm my heart up to see people trying.”

Lovato continued: “My friends have had a little harder time to get used to it, actually. Just because I think your friends are the ones who you’re more likely to be like, ‘Biiitch! “I’m like, look, you can still call me ‘bitch.’”

They also spoke to something those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community love to talk about, especially in Pride month: chosen family.

“I used to identify family as blood-related, and now my queer family has become more of a family than friends. I feel like I now have two families. I have my blood relatives and I have my queer family, and that family to me is the chosen family…that, my soulmate looks different than your typical soulmate. My soulmate is my best friend, Matthew Scott. And him and I have never been romantic and never will be. But that is my person…my ideas and perspectives have totally shifted as I’ve gotten older and since I’ve found a safe place to be myself. ”

Watch the full interview here:

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In May, when Lovato posted about their non-binary identity, they wrote the following:

“Over the past year and a half, I have been doing some healing and self-reflective work. And through this work, I’ve had the revelation that I identify as non-binary,” Lovato said in a video they posted to Instagram. “With that said, I’ll officially be changing my pronouns to they/them. I feel that this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression and allows me to feel most authentic and true to the person I both know I am and still am discovering.”

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Happy Pride, Demi!

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