Musical theater magic happened in Washington Heights on February 11 as the cast of the Tony-winning musical In the Heights reunited for a one-night-only, five-year reunion concert. Members of the original Broadway cast (including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Karen Olivo, Christopher Jackson, Mandy Gonzalez and Robin de Jesus) gave it their all, and the audience at the United Palace of Cultural Arts went wild during the big numbers “When You’re Home,” “96,000” and “Carnaval del Barrio.” High off the evening’s energy and craving more In the Heights, we caught up with the stars at the after-party and asked: if Lin-Manuel penned a sequel to the musical set 10 years in the future (a la the Phantom's Love Never Dies), where would each character be? Check out their sometimes surprising answers below!
Vanessa (played by Karen Olivo)
Then: Vanessa was an Uptown girl who dreamed of life in Greenwich Village, and thanks to Daniela and Usnavi, her dream came true. As In the Heights closed, Vanessa was hopping the A train downtown and booking a second date with Usnavi.
10 Years Later: “She would probably be working for some fashion house in New York. She would be in the Village for sure and Usnavi would be staying in her bed most of the time.”
Sonny (played by Robin de Jesús)
Then: Sonny alternates between pesky little cousin and budding social activist. As the curtain comes down, he is in the position to receive a large portion of Abuela Claudia’s lottery winnings.
10 Years Later: “Sonny would be heading back from the Peace Corps talking about some country that needs all our help and coming back revved up to help the community here as well.”
Benny (played by Christopher Jackson)
Then: Benny takes initiative to learn Spanish, stand up for himself and prove himself to not only Nina but her protective father (and his boss) Kevin Rosario. As the show winds down, he and Nina embark on a long-distance relationship between California and New York.
10 Years Later: “He's probably sitting around stressed out, like Kevin was stressed out when we first started. I don’t know if [he and Nina will still be together or not]. Quiara [Alegria Hudes] and Lin never gave me a straight answer. We were always guessing, so I’ll leave that one to them.”
Nina (played by Mandy Gonzalez)
Then: Like Benny, Nina goes through a big transition after returning to her old neighborhood, ultimately deciding to re-enroll at Stanford, patch up her relationship with her parents and take a chance on love with Benny.
10 Years Later: “I think she would definitely be living in Washington Heights, and I think she and Benny would probably be married. And I think she would be working in public service in some way.”
Kevin Rosario (played in the concert by Rick Negron)
Then: The hard-working Roasio patriarch Kevin sacrificed it all for the sake of his family and the future of his daughter, Nina. By the show’s end, he’s learned to accept Nina for who she is and welcome Benny into his family.
Ten Years Later: “He sold the business and went back to working as a mechanic. After a few years, he decided to buy a shop and now he owns two Automotive Shops that services taxis and limos. He and Camila go Salsa dancing on Thursday nights and are thinking of retiring to Puerto Rico soon.”
Camila Rosario (played in the concert by Natalie Toro)
Then: As the lady stuck between the stubborn Nina and the equally stubborn Kevin, Mrs. Rosario is the most practical member of the family, with a positive outlook and desire to come up with a workable solution to any problem.
10 Years Later: “Nina will probably marry Benny, so we'll have to save for that, because in our culture we pay for the daughter’s wedding. Of course, Kevin would be out of his mind trying to control everything but it’s ok because I really wear the pants in the house! They would stay in Washington Heights for life, and I think he will probably get a dispatch going again.”
The Piragua Guy (played by Eliseo Román)
Then: The Piragua Guy works hard to keep the neighborhood refreshed and cool…provided Mr. Softee doesn’t poach all his loyal Latin costumers. A pivotal member of the community, the Piragua Guy brings more to Washington Heights than just flavored ice.
10 Years Later: “He is living in Costa Rica in a beautiful estate overlooking the ocean. All those quarters and dimes and nickels he saved from those piragua sales have bought him a small island in Costa Riiicccaaa!”
Daniela and Carla (played by Andréa Burns and Janet Dacal, respectively)
The campy diva duo Daniela and Carla run the local salon and know all the Heights gossip. At the end of the musical, the neighborhood is shifting, rents are going up and Daniela’s salon is forced to relocate.
10 Years Later: “I think they are still running that salon but [Daniela] might have a whole staff by now. She has her feet up in the back, drinking champagne and collecting,” Burns said. Added Dacal, “Carla is working the floor and making sure everyone is doing exactly what they have to do.”
Graffiti Pete (played by Seth Stewart)
Then: Often viewed as the neighborhood vandal, Graffiti Pete ends In The Heights as an officially commissioned graffiti artist. After all, it’s his portrait of Abuela Claudia that convinces Usnavi to stay in the neighborhood.
10 Years Later: “Graffiti Pete would be like Tats Cru. He’s a hood cat but he has a lot of know-how. I think he goes to canvass and high-end art. He gets commissioned $20,000 artworks. Probably lives in a shitty loft in Washington Heights, but has decent money. He remains an artist and stays close to the community.”
Usnavi (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda)
Then: The man at the center of it all, Usnavi is the bodega owner and the heir to the majority of Abuela Claudia’s lotto fortune. For Usnavi, In the Heights ends in the same place it began: with him at his bodega surrounded by the people he loves.
10 Years Later: “He’s the last bodega and there’s a Pottery Barn on one side, a Starbucks on the other and it’s winter. It’s the coldest day of the year. That’s as far as I’ve thought!”