Interview: Arun Blair-Mangat (In The Heights)

Having appeared in the original London cast of Kinky Boots (playing one of the Angels and covering the role of Lola), Arun Blair-Mangat talks about joining the cast of In The Heights and playing the role of Benny. 

You joined the cast a few weeks ago, what's it been like performing in the show so far?
They had a cast change at the beginning of September. I left Kinky Boots and joined this company. It's been a lot of fun. A very quick turn around, but I think it's better that way. You get to know the show really quickly and you can fill in the details afterwards.

Benny is such a great character. How are you enjoying playing the role? 
I love Benny's journey! I love being able to fall in love every night. It's a really great role to play actually.

In The Heights is full of amazing music. What's your favourite song in the show? 
Ooh, the music's so good! It's so rich and there are some beautiful motifs throughout the piece. I think my favourite song is actually a song that Gabby (Gabriela Garcia) sings as Nina. It's the second song in the show and it's called Breathe. It's so well written and she performs it incredibly. It's quite an intense song to happen so early in the show, but it instantly connects you and you understand her journey, and where she's going to go. It really establishes quite a lot.

The show has been compared to Rent on several occasions...
Yeah definitely. I think that the creators were very much inspired by it. There are definitely a couple of parallels.

Usnavi could be considered the main character but all of the characters have their own individual journeys...
Yes, there's lots of different arcs, all interlinking, but I think the main character is probably the Barrio. It's very much about the people and the community of Washington Heights. They're all interconnected and that's what makes the show seem more real, I think.

Many thanks to Arun for answering these questions. Be sure to catch him as Benny in In The Heights at the King's Cross Theatre!

In The Heights has extended its London run at the King’s Cross Theatre for the third and final time and is now booking until Sunday 8 January 2017. Tickets start at £22.50, with a selection of best seats available for Under 25s at a special rate of £15 at every performance. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.