Lin-Manuel Miranda mourns ‘In the Heights,’ ‘West Side Story’ actress Doreen Montalvo

Doreen Montalvo performs on stage during the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize tribute concert held at DAR Constitution Hall on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Washington.

Broadway actress Doreen Montalvo, who is set to appear in upcoming film adaptations of musicals “In the Heights” and “West Side Story,” has died, her agent, Michael Rodriguez, confirmed to USA TODAY. She was 56. 

Montalvo appeared in the original Broadway cast ensemble of “In the Heights” in 2008 and later joined “On Your Feet!,” the Gloria and Emilio Estefan jukebox musical. Over the past 14 years, she has also made guest appearances on TV shows including “Madam Secretary,” “The Good Wife,” “Smash” and “Law & Order.” 

She is credited with small roles in the film versions of “In the Heights” and “West Side Story,” both of which were originally supposed to debut this year, before movie theater shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic punted them to 2021. 

Broadway actress Doreen Montalvo has died at 56.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created and starred in “In the Heights” before going on to build musical juggernaut “Hamilton,” recalled in a series of tweets that Montalvo’s was the first audition he saw when working on “Heights,” which would go on to win four Tony Awards, including best musical. 

“It is monstrously unfair that we did not get more time with her,” Miranda wrote. “More shows with her. More music with her. More life with her. When someone brings that much joy and love to everyone they meet, that much commitment to the craft they love… it’s unfair. And heartbreaking.”

“In the Heights” film director Jon M. Chu wrote that Montalvo “was a force of love that seeped into every inch” of the movie. “When she sings to Nina in ‘Breathe,’ or as the voice in ‘Siempre’ her imprint on the movie and the ‘In The Heights’ family will live forever. Thank u Doreen. U are loved by so many.”

“I just don’t have all my words yet, it’s too much,” tweeted “Hamilton” actor Javier Muñoz, who appeared alongside Montalvo in “In the Heights.” “But I love you Doreen. Always.”

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