‘Vivo’: Making an Animated Musical as a Kindred Spirit to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘In the Heights’

From the start, Lin-Manuel Miranda envisioned his animated pet project “Vivo” as a love letter to the musical heritage of Cuba.

In fact, he told director Kirk DeMicco (“The Croods”) when they started in 2016 that “Vivo” was a kindred spirit to “In the Heights.”That’s why Miranda recruited “In the Heights” writer Quiara Alegría Hudes and composer Alex Lacamoire to join him on “Vivo.” But whereas “In the Heights” dealt with the nostalgic longing to return to the old country of Puerto Rico, “Vivo” was about journeying to Miami to spread the musical love and joy of Cuba on a very personal mission.In addition to conceiving the idea for “Vivo” and writing eight original songs, Miranda voices the titular character: a singer-musician kinkajou (a rainforest “honey bear”), who plays music in a lively Havana square with his owner and duet partner Andrés (Juan de Marcos of the Buena Vista Social Club).

That is,

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