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Broadway and film and television actress Doreen Montalvo died on Saturday at the age of 56 following a sudden ailment. Her manager, Steve Maihack, confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter, in a statement, saying, “Doreen didn’t just light up the stage, she brightened the light in all of those around her. She was having quite the year with two films in the can and a new Broadway show… but she would be so happy to know she will live on through these projects and the outpouring of love from every corner of the business.”
Montalvo appeared in the original Broadway cast of the Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights, and had a small role in the upcoming film adaptation. She also appears in the upcoming Steven Spielberg adaptation of West Side Story. She’s made appearances on shows like The Good Wife, Smash, Elementary, and Madam Secretary.
She most recently performed in the Broadway production of Mrs. Doubtfire, which premiered on March 9 and was delayed just three days later due to the coronavirus pandemic. Broadway has been shut down ever since.
In the Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda took to Twitter over the weekend to mourn the loss of his friend and collaborator.
“Doreen Montalvo was the first actress to audition for In The Heights in the basement of the Drama Book Shop in 2002. The first one,” he wrote. “She sang La Lupe’s Qué Te Pedi and embedded herself in my heart in an instant. Her voice was had that tear in it–that lágrima. Inimitable & hers.”
The Broadway star and writer went on to share how he kept Montalvo in the show despite cutting her original role.
“She played Benny’s mom Alma that first year. We cut the role. So she played Camila, then Daniela, then Abuela, and by 2007 she was so invaluable to us that she covered all those roles both Off and On Broadway, in addition to her onstage role, who @quiarahudes named ‘Cuca,'” he continued.
Miranda also opened up about playing a role in Montalvo’s wedding to actor Michael Mann, writing, “In 2010 she happily became Doreen Montalvo Mann–I DJ’d the wedding. She and Michael held it around the corner from the theater and every incarnation of our cast was there. Michael was the light of her life and everyone who knows Doreen is holding him in their prayers.”
The Hamilton scribe went on to note that “Doreen is all over the In the Heights movie,” sharing the lyrics the late actress sings on the upcoming adaptation. The film was originally scheduled to be released this past summer, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been pushed to a June 2021 release.
See more of Montalvo’s co-star’s reactions to the news of her death: