Art & Culture

"In the Heights", the Broadway musical, now in theaters

With a Latin cast, the film version of the Broadway musical “In the Heights,” with music and lyrics by the talented Lin-Manuel Miranda, opens in theaters

The Warner Bros. Pictures film opened on Friday, June 11, 2021 in theaters in the United States simultaneously with HBO Max.

In the Heights” takes place in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, where the character Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) is the sympathetic grocery store owner who saves every penny while singing and imagining a better life.

In addition to Ramos, the cast includes Corey Hawkins ("Straight Outta Compton," "Kong: Skull Island"), singer-songwriter Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz (from the Broadway play "In the Heights") , Jimmy Smits ("Star Wars"), Daphne Rubin-Vega (from the play "Rent"), Gregory Diaz IV (from the play "Matilda the Musical"), Stephanie Beatriz, ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine") and Dascha Polanco ("Orange is the New Black").

The story is narrated by the character of Ramos who acts as a link between several characters whose lives go through a profound change during a summer, and explores the different latin cultures through dances directed by choreographer Christopher Scott, from hip-hop to pop.

Jon M. Chu ("Crazy Rich Asians") directed the film, which was shot in the same Washington Heights neighborhood, also known as "The Little Dominican Republic."

If you don't know New York City, the Washington Heights neighborhood is located at the northern end of the Manhattan metropolitan district. It begins at 155th Street in the south to Dyckman Street in the north, and runs from the East River to the Hudson River in the west.

"Is a love letter to this incredible neighborhood."

Lin-Manuel Miranda

The Washington Heights-born artist, playwright, and composer claims this neighborhood has always been a community of immigrants and that it is the "first chapter" of many life stories.

“Now it is a Latin neighborhood; he was Dominican when I grew up in the 80's. Before that, he was Irish, Italian, and Jewish. And since we are first-generation children, we always wonder what it would have been like if our parents had stayed,” says the creator of the hit play“ Hamilton ”in a press release.

“Each character responds in a different way to the meaning of 'home'. For some, home is somewhere else, and for others, it is the block they are on. That's something worth singing about and worth celebrating in a movie of this magnitude," says Miranda.

Actor Anthony Ramos, who grew up in a Puerto Rican community in Brooklyn, says he has never seen “a movie in which someone looks like my grandmother, my aunt, my cousins. I have never seen anything with 75 Latinos in the middle of the street dancing, singing with pride about their place of origin. ”

“I get emotional every time I think about this movie and what it means to me and to the culture. That's a dream for me," said the 29-year-old actor.

The script for the film was written by Quiara Alegría Hudes and is based on the play “In the Heights”, winner of several Tony Awards.

Hudes, Miranda, Scott Sanders, Anthony Bregman, and Mara Jacobs were produced, with David Nicksay and Kevin McCormick serving as executive producers.

Rated PG-13, “In the Heights” is entertaining, exciting, and colorful. Watch the first 8 minutes here. You will run to the theater and come out singing! 

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