During the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, the whole country watched the newest trailer for the musical “In The Heights.” If you are a broadway fan like many, then you are probably already hyped about the movie. So the trailer is just a small tease to the loud, vibrant, cultural classic that is this movie, and we couldn’t be any more ready for it.
‘In The Heights’ was originally a play written by Lin-Manuel Miranda in 1999, during his sophomore year of college. His first draft was accepted by Wesleyan University’s Second Stage student theater company. Miranda added freestyle rap numbers, bodegas, and salsa numbers to give the piece the identity it needed.
The play was first performed April 27-29, 2000, as an 80-minute one-act show received by critics as “a hip-hop version of Rent.”
After seeing the play, two Wesleyan seniors and two alumni, John Buffalo Mailer, Neil Patrick Stewart, Anthony Veneziale, and Thomas Kail, approached Miranda and asked if the play could be expanded with an eye toward a Broadway production. In 2002, Miranda worked with director Kail and wrote five different drafts of In the Heights. Book writer Quiara Alegria Hudes joined the team in 2004.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is now the creator of the adaption, directed by Jon M. Chi. In a virtual event for the trailer premiere, Miranda said, “I think we’re so used to asking for less—just to ask to occupy space as Latinos. Like, let us make our little movie. Jon, every step of the way, was like, ‘No. This is a big movie. These guys have big dreams. We’re allowed to go that big.’ I’m just so thrilled with what he did because I think it’s bigger than any of us ever dreamed.”
Anthony Ramos plays the role of Usnavi, one of the lead characters. In an interview, Ramos got emotional thinking about the film and his community which has been hit hard by Covid-19 and continues to grapple with being underrepresented in Hollywood and beyond.
“I’ve never seen anything where there are 75 Latinos in the middle of the street dancing and singing about pride and where they come from. I get emotional when I’m thinking about this movie and what it means to me and the culture,” Ramos said during the virtual event.”
The director, Jon M. Chu, said he believed the movie was an ‘amazingly beautiful seed,’ which could change many minds. “You can’t change the world if they don’t want to change, but never underestimate the power of planting a seed.”
The movie is set to premiere on June 18 in theaters and on HBO Max. If you’re a Broadway buff, you won’t want to miss this adaptation of it, especially if you feel a particular closeness to Washington Heights, where the movie is based.