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  • Writer's pictureShoshana

Lights Up on In The Heights!

In The Heights is everything you want in a Broadway musical turned movie.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes and Jon M. Chu created the movie of the summer, when the world needed it.

The imagery jumps off the screen and makes you form an artistic opinion with cinematography by Alice Brooks.

Pride is not the word I’m looking for when describing Lin-Manuel’s admiration for Anthony Ramos. The star quality is clear as he makes you completely fall for Usnavi. The entire cast fully brings you into life in Washington Heights and this won’t be the last time we’re seeing them on the big screen.

You’ll see the world through Melissa Barrera’s eyes (Vanessa), listen to your block with Leslie Grace (Nina Rosario), get on the dispatch with Corey Hawkins (Benny), you know you love him - Gregory Diaz IV (Sonny de la Vega), dance along with Ariana Greenblatt (Young Nina), hear what a little birdie told Daphne Rubin-Vega (Daniela), explain a stretched limousine to Stephanie Beatriz (Carla), head to the salon with Dasha Polanco (Cuca), buy a lot of spray cans for Noah Catala (Graffiti Pete), get excited for Nina’s homecoming with Jimmy Smits (Kevin Rosario), have a drink with Marc Anthony (Mr. de la Vega) and wonder if Hadestown took over the Heights with Patrick Page (Pike Philips).

Olga Merediz reprises her role as Abuela Claudia, Lin-Manuel switches roles from Usnavi to Piragüero, and Christopher Jackson goes from Usnavi’s best friend, Benny, to Piragua Guy’s archrival, Mister Softee.

The casting is superb and there are cameos by original cast members of the 2008 Best Musical Tony winner throughout the film, including Doreen Montalvo, who passed away in 2020, singing her beautiful part in, “Breathe.”

Keep an eye out for Seth Stewart during Festival In The Heights and Luis Salgado on the grill. During the last scene, there’s groups of original Broadway cast members including Javier Muñoz, Afra Hines and more. Even more original cast members are credited in the cast album and there’s even a new song: “Home All Summer,” performed by Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, and Marc Anthony.

While songs were taken out and lyrics adjusted to make them modern and unique to the film, El Sueñito is at the heart of what you know and love from the stage. Hamilton fans, keep an ear out for a special surprise in a ringtone.

You’ll pop the champagne with passionate fans and say “No Me Diga!” along with audience members joining the Heights phenomenon.

There’s an energy in the theatre seeing In The Heights and it’s the perfect film for the summer. Sometimes the island you’re searching for is the one you’ve been at all along. Combining this classic tale, with touching subjects like gentrification and Dreamers, In The Heights feels urgent and necessary.

After seeing In The Heights, you’re going to want to get your nails done in a place like Daniela’s Salon, have a large dance number in a pool, enjoy piragua and get that lottery ticket. What would you do with 96,000?

Stay through the credits. I hope you're writing this down, I'm gonna test ya later.

It won’t be long now: In The Heights premieres at TRIBECA this Wednesday.

Paciencia Y Fe.

See you at the SHO!


Shoshana went to the set of In The Heights when it was filming in Washington Heights. Enjoy behind-the-scenes video of the opening number, as well as photos on set.

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