Fans might notice a few changes to the “In The Heights” score when the film adaptation of the hit musical arrives in theaters in June.
The song “96,000,” which appears about halfway through the stage version’s first act, originally contained a reference to Donald Trump. “I’ll be a businessman, richer than Nina’s daddy,” the character Benny sings. “Donald Trump and I are on the links and he’s my caddy.”
“In The Heights” premiered on Broadway in 2008, eight years before Trump’s presidency. But when composer Lin-Manuel Miranda began revisiting the music ahead of the movie version, he opted to swap Trump out for golf star Tiger Woods.
In an interview with Variety last week, Miranda shared his reasoning. “When I wrote it, he was an avatar for the Monopoly man,” he said of Trump. “He was just, like, a famous rich person. Then when time moves on and he becomes the stain on American democracy, you change the lyric.”
“Time made a fool of that lyric,” he added, “and so we changed it.”
In a separate Variety interview, screenwriter Quiara Alegría Hudes said Miranda had written the lyric “in a teasing way.” Given Trump’s history of racist rhetoric, she noted that the reference would now seem out of step in a film intended to be a celebration of Latinx culture.
“It got to a point where teasing didn’t quite cover it,” she explained. “There was so much harm and damage done to the communities that we were trying to uplift in this movie. In the spirit of the movie, his name doesn’t have a place in a teasing way.”
Miranda, a three-time Tony winner, got back to his Broadway roots this week. The “Hamilton” creator appeared alongside New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday to kick off the opening of a Times Square COVID-19 vaccination site intended to give New York’s pandemic-battered theater industry a boost.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, “In The Heights” will be released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max June 11. The movie, which stars Anthony Ramos and Daphne Rubin-Vega, was originally due out last year, but got pushed back because of COVID-19.
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