'Vida' Star Melissa Barrera to be cast as Vanessa for 'In the Heights' Movie

Image courtesy of Twitter

Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter announced additional cast members for the feature adaptation of his Tony-winning musical In The Heights from Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu. Joining Corey Hawkins, who was previously announced as Benny and Anthony Ramos, who plays Usnavi, is singer/songwriter Leslie Grace as Nina and Melissa Barrera as Vanessa.

Barrera plays Lyn on Straz’s Latinex series Vida, which airs its second season this June. She is repped by UTA, Cross Over Entertainment, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein. Barrera studied at NYU before returning to her native Mexico to pursue an acting career, at which point she starred in several theater and television productions.

In the original storyline, bodega owner Usnavi strikes it rich and plans to leave, until the pull of the Latino neighborhood and the people in it give him pause. Set in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, the plot revolves around Usnavi, a college student, a taxi driver, a beauty salon worker and an old woman who aspire to better lives as gentrification begins to take hold, and a sweltering summer power blackout brings their personal life crises to a head.

Vanessa is Usnavi’s love interest who works at Daniela’s salon. She is stunningly beautiful and catches the eye of every guy in the Heights, however, she takes interest in Usnavi. She lives with an alcoholic mother and dreams of getting out of the Barrio and getting an apartment downtown, but cannot yet afford it.

Read more about the story line and other characters here: www.deadline.com

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