in the heights

Nina Rosario from In the Heights

Nina Rosario (Leslie Grace) is a character in the movie musical, In The Heights. An adventurous and intelligent girl, she is the first in her family to attend college, namely Stanford University. Everyone in the barrio cheers her on, as she “made it out.” But when Nina returns for the summer, she announces she dropped out. Her solo, “Breathe,” is about her struggle to tell the truth, because she feels like a failure. She becomes frustrated with her father’s overprotective nature and his refusal to accept Benny as her lover.

Piragua Guy from In The Heights

Piragua Guy or Piragüero is a character in the movie musical, In The Heights. He sells colorful shaved ice (piragua) to children in the barrio. He’s portrayed by none other than Lin Manuel-Miranda, who both wrote the musical and originated the role of Usnavi on Broadway. The song “Piragua” was going to be cut from the movie adaptation until Lin stepped in to play the role. His competition is the Mister Softee truck, where Christopher Jackson, who originated the role of Benny, as well as George Washington in Hamilton, portrays the ice cream man.

Benny from In The Heights

Benny (Corey Hawkins) is a character in the movie musical, In The Heights. He works at the dispatch for Kevin Rosario’s taxi service, and falls in love with his daughter, Nina. His friends include Usnavi and Sonny. One day, Benny dreams of opening his own business. He is the only person in the movie who does not speak Spanish. Fun Fact: Christopher Jackson, who made a cameo as the ice cream man, played Benny in the original Broadway musical.

Vanessa Morales from In The Heights

Vanessa Morales (Melissa Barerra) is a character in the movie musical, In The Heights. She works at Daniela’s salon. She is the prettiest girl in the Heights, but she only has eyes for Usnavi. She wants to get out of the barrio and get an apartment downtown. Fun fact: Vanessa is named after Lin’s actual wife, Vanessa!

Usnavi de la Vega from In the Heights

Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos) is the main character and narrator in the movie musical, In The Heights. His name comes from the first sight his parents saw when they arrived in America: a ship that said “US Navy.” After the passing of his parents, Abuela Claudia, the beloved neighborhood matriarch, practically raised him. He owns a small bodega in Washington Heights, but his dream is to move to the Dominican Republic. It’s no secret Usnavi is in love with Vanessa. You may recognize Ramos from his role in Hamilton, where he starred alongside Lin Manuel-Miranda, who composed and wrote both shows. In addition, Manuel-Miranda originated the role of Usnavi on Broadway.