Award-winning "In The Heights" headed for Chicago

September 25, 2009 "In the Heights," winner of four 2008 Tony Awards and the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, is the next chapter in the classic American story, says the show's creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. The hopeful musical is set in a neighborhood in New York City; it explores how immigrants still come to the United States so their children can have better lives than they did, Miranda adds.

The National Tour of "In the Heights" begins this fall and Broadway in Chicago is bringing the hit show here. The show opens on Dec. 15 and runs through Jan. 3, 2010, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

"In the Heights" tells the universal story of a vibrant community in Manhattan's Washington Heights - a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It's a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

"In the Heights" began as an original musical conceived by Miranda during his sophomore year at Wesleyan University. Upon graduating and returning home to New York, Miranda collaborated with director Thomas Kail to rework and restage the campus hit for a larger audience. That's how they captured the interest of producers Jill Furman, Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller, whose previous work on Broadway included "Rent," "Avenue Q" and "The Drowsy Chaperone." After more workshops, more collaborators, and a stint at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in Connecticut, the musical found a home at Off-Broadway's 37 Arts Theatre. Seven years after the idea was first born, "In the Heights" was ready for its New York theatrical debut.

During its Off-Broadway run at 37 Arts, "In the Heights" quickly became an audience phenomenon and a critical success. The response was unprecedented: the musical was luring both traditional and non-traditional theatergoers and garnering a huge cache of accolades, including the Outer Critics' Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical. After over 200 performances, "In the Heights" played its final Off-Broadway show on July 15, 2007, and began preparations for a move to Broadway, which included enhancements to the script and score, as well as new additions to the cast and crew.

In addition to winning the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical, Miranda, won the Tony for Best Music and Lyrics, Andy Blankenbuehler won for Best Choreography, and Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman won for Best Orchestrations. The original cast recording won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, and Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a feature film based on the smash hit musical.

"In the Heights" opened on Broadway to critical acclaim March 9, 2008, and continues to play at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

With a book by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award nominee Quiara Alegría Hudes and conceived by Miranda, "In the Heights" is directed by Joseph A. Callaway Award-winner and Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail. Lacamoire serves as the show's music director. The music arrangements are by Lacamoire and Sherman. "In the Heights" also features Tony-nominated scenic design by Anna Louizos, Tony-nominated costumes by Paul Tazewell, Tony-nominated lighting by Howell Binkley and Tony-nominated sound by Acme Sound Partners.

Tickets for "In the Heights" are available through the Broadway In Chicago Season Series to subscribers at or by calling the Season Ticket Hotline at (312) 977-1717. Tickets are now available for groups of 15 or more by calling (312) 977-1710 and to subscribers of the 2010 Broadway In Chicago Season Series. Individual tickets for "In the Heights" will be available at a later date.

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About Elisa Santora

Elise Santora starred as Abuela Claudia in "In The Heights" on Broadway; she reprises the role in the Tony and Grammy award-winning musical's first national tour that stops in Chicago in December. A native New Yorker of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, Elise was nominated by the Ace Awards as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for "The Red Rose," starring Danny Rivera. The musical tells the story of the meeting between Puerto Rican activist writer Jess Coln and undercover FBI agent Mildred Blauvelt, and their subsequent face-off before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1959. The show premiered at Pregones Theatre in the Bronx.

Elise made her professional debut at the age of 12 landing the lead role of Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz," directed by internationally acclaimed actor, Jose Ferrer, at the Tapia Theatre in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As an adult, she toured the world as a background singer in alternative, world and rhythm and blues with such acts as David Bowie, Julio Iglesias, and Jermaine Jackson. She was a principal singer/dancer with the UNICEF Africa tour with ambassador, Danny Kaye. Elise returned to her first love, theatre arts, by finishing her stage training at California State, Fullerton and UCLA respectively.

National Tours include "A Chorus Line," starring Bebe Neuwirth and "Man of La Mancha" starring Howard Keel, John Collum and John Cypher respectively. Off-Broadway: title roles of Zoraida and Ghost Dance Woman. Broadway: Elise made her debut as understudy to the role of Aldonza in 1992 in the revival of "Man of La Mancha" directed by the original Broadway director and Tony winner, Albee Marre and starring Raul Julia and Sheena Easton; "The Capeman:" ensemble member of Broadway musical debut by pop icon Paul Simon and starring Ruben Blades and Marc Anthony. "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" directed by Scott Ellis and musically directed by Paul Gemigniani.

Elise divides her time filming television series, commercials and voiceovers for both the English and Spanish market and as a teaching artist for such arts education programs as Henry Street Settlement Center, Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theatre Club in areas of playwriting, musical theatre and acting. She has been on faculty with Professional Performing Arts High School in Manhattan as voice/diction teacher and has conducted master classes in performance at the new Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts.

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