Musical theatre fans might notice a few changes to the In The Heights score when the film adaptation of the hit show debuts later this year in June.
The song 96,000, which features in the stage version’s first act, originally contained a reference to Donald Trump, with the character Benny singing: “I’ll be a businessman, richer than Nina’s daddy, Donald Trump and I are on the links and he’s my caddy.”
In The Heights premiered on Broadway in 2008, eight years before Trump’s presidency. But when composer Lin-Manuel Miranda began revisiting the music ahead of the movie version, he opted to swap Trump out for golf star Tiger Woods.
In a recent interview with Variety, Lin-Manuel shared his reasoning, explaining: “When I wrote it, he was an avatar for the Monopoly man. He was just, like, a famous rich person. Then when time moves on and he becomes the stain on American democracy, you change the lyric.”
“Time made a fool of that lyric,” he added. “And so we changed it.”
In a separate Variety interview, screenwriter Quiara Alegría Hudes said Lin-Manuel had written the lyric “in a teasing way”.
Given Trump’s history of racist rhetoric, she noted that the reference would now seem out of step in a film intended to be a celebration of Latinx culture.
“It got to a point where teasing didn’t quite cover it,” she explained. “There was so much harm and damage done to the communities that we were trying to uplift in this movie. In the spirit of the movie, his name doesn’t have a place in a teasing way.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, a three-time Tony winner, got back to his Broadway roots this week.
The Hamilton creator appeared alongside New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday to kick off the opening of a Times Square Covid-19 vaccination site intended to give New York’s pandemic-battered theatre industry a boost.
In The Heights is currently slated for release in UK cinemas on 25 June. The film, which stars Anthony Ramos and Daphne Rubin-Vega, was originally due out last year, but got pushed back because of the pandemic.
A version of this story previously appeared on the US edition of HuffPost.