News & Politics

‘In the Heights’ Star Corey Hawkins Used to Hang at Busboys and Poets

Everything to know about the DC-born-and-raised star.

Raise your hand if you watched Lin-Manuel Miranda’s newest blockbuster In the Heights at some point over the last 72 hours and couldn’t take your eyes off Benny? The BFF of Usnavi, played by Corey Hawkins, was charming as the dedicated employee of a dying dispatch company who was trying to win back the heart of his high-school girlfriend, the daughter of the man who owns said dispatch company. Hawkins has been on the big screen for several years now, after growing up in DC. Here’s what else to know about him:

Hawkins grew up in Southeast

He has said he was raised by his mom, who was a police officer.

He went to the premiere performing-arts school in town

Hawkins attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, whose many notable alums include comedian Dave Chappelle and singer Ari Lennox. After school, he’d hang with friends at Busboys and poets. One of those, by the way: Samira Wiley, from The Handmaid’s Tale.

“In the Heights” was the first Broadway musical Hawkins saw

After high school, Hawkins moved to New York to study drama at the Juilliard School. He then performed in a few off-Broadway productions before making his Broadway debut in 2013 as Tybalt in “Romeo and Juliet.” He has a Tony nomination for Best Actor for his role in “Six Degrees of Separation.”

It all (meaning Hawkins’s new movie) started with tennis

Lin Manuel Miranda first became aware of Hawkins at the U.S. Open in 2017. Hawkins, filling in for someone else who had fallen through, sang “God Bless America.” Miranda was in the crowd that day, and one thing led to another.

He has another new movie out right now

Maybe you saw Hawkins in Straight Outta Compton or The Walking Dead. But have you seen him in the just-released DC murder-flick Georgetown? Hawkins played Daniel Volker in the saga about Albrecht Muth, the 47-year-old man who was convicted of killing his 91-year-old wife, Viola Drath, in their Georgetown row house in 2011. The movie just hit theaters on May 14.