Lin-Manuel Miranda is a household name these days thanks to the smash success of his Broadway show Hamilton, but before the founding father took to the stage, there was the story of Washington Heights, and the Latin-rooted people who call it home.
The first noticeable thing is the movie’s impressive cast and crew. Miranda produces and Jon M. Chu of Crazy Rich Asians directs, both boding extremely well for a good product.
Anthony Ramos stars as lead Usnavi de la Vega — the character originally portrayed by Miranda himself –, who earned his fame playing Miranda’s beloved Hamilton in the Broadway production when Miranda left. along with other prominent names like Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco, Christopher Jackson, and Marc Anthony.
The Broadway production of In The Heights won several Tony awards in its run, including Best Musical, and a film adaptation of the show has been in the works ever since. However, it faced multiple production problems following the Weinstein scandal (who was set to back it), and directorial changes. But with all that being the case, I think what they ended up with is going to be incredible.
For those that are unfamiliar with the Broadway show, they won’t know the songs, but they will easily recognize Miranda’s iconic freestyle rap verses. Even in this short tease we can hear the Hamilton-esque sounds that Miranda is known for.
The story feels very much like Miranda too, who has always been proud of his Puerto Rican heritage and the legacy that Latin Americans have had on the United States. This story is no different; it is one of pride, struggle, triumph, family, and believing in oneself — all integral parts to a Miranda production.
I am extremely excited to see this film because of all of the great talent attached to it, and because I love a good musical movie (and let’s face it — we aren’t getting a Hamilton adaptation anytime soon).
In The Heights will be in theaters June 26, 2020.