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  • Nelson Pressley Theater critic

Two different ‘In the Heights’ earn top honors at Hayes Awards


Mirandamania continued in Washington on Monday night at the Anthem as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 musical “In the Heights” earned top Helen Hayes Award honors on both sides of the D.C. theater prize divide.

The Olney Theatre Center-Round House Theatre co-production of “In the Heights” topped a strong field on the bigger-budget “Hayes” side of the awards, which expanded four years ago to reflect Washington theater’s growth and create balanced comparisons. The show, produced at the Olney, won only two awards, but one was for top musical, besting Signature Theatre’s “A Little Night Music” and “Crazy for You,” Ford’s Theatre’s “Ragtime” and Round House’s “Caroline, or Change.”

On the smaller-budget “Helen” side, GALA Hispanic Theatre’s U.S. premiere of a Spanish-language “In the Heights” had the biggest night of all, collecting nine awards including outstanding musical, director and choreo­grapher (both to Luis Salgado), musical direction and ensemble. Laura Lebrón won leading-actress honors for her performance as college dropout Nina, and Félix Marchany — whose name flashed on the screen before all the nominees had been announced — earned the supporting-actor award as the Piragua Guy.

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