Lights up on Washington Heights. No matter how many times you’ve listened to the In the Heights Original Broadway Cast Recording, whether once or 96,000 times, it gets stuck in your head. And after you watch the trailer for the big-screen adaptation, you’ll be singing it from now ’til its release next summer and beyond.
The Nerds of Color got to attend a sneak preview of the film with the cast and creators in the Heights and it’s clear that love, soul, care, and dedication to fun went into this movie.
The cast is stacked with talent you know from everywhere. Miranda graduates from his original starring role as Usnavi to play the Piragua Man. He passes the torch of playing Usnavi to the multi-talented Anthony Ramos. Tony nominee Olga Merediz reprises her role as Abuela Claudia from the original Broadway run, so get ready for alll the emotions. Keep an eye out for the President of America and Alderaan, Jimmy Smits. And there are about a dozen familiar faces from the stage and screen: Corey Hawkins. Dasha Polanco. Stephanie Beatriz. Melissa Barrera. Daphne Rubin-Vega. Leslie Grace. Gregory Diaz IV. And yes, that was Marc Anthony.
Miranda worked with NOC fave Jon M. Chu (can we get an #OroOpen?), whose filmography proves why he’s been on board since 2013: Chu is no stranger to movies with lots of choreography (the Step Up sequels) and, of course, Crazy Rich Asians’ love story is a great precursor to the romance that runs through In the Heights.
“It reminded me of my family. I grew up in an immigrant family and community,” Chu said at the sneak peek event. “The fight to survive, the fight to dream, the right to dream, to me that was everything. It was instilled in me, that’s the American story. So when I saw his show, it connected so much to me. I said I know how to make this movie. I know how to express it.”
It’s rare for the Heights to get any attention on the big screen, much less such an intimate look at a neighborhood thriving with life. Just another layer of authenticity Miranda and the filmmakers felt was important. Chu told me that in classic New York fashion, the residents both didn’t care and wanted to join in on the party. And what a party it is! I dare you not to dance in your seat as you watch the trailer.
“Lin and Quiara [Alegría Hudes, who wrote the book for the musical and the screenplay] created this magical seed that got implanted into all of us,” Chu told the hyped Washington Heights crowd. “Every day was unlike any other. It was the best summer of our lives.”
And it’s about to be yours. In the Heights comes to the big screen on June 26, 2020.