It is my duty as a bona fide musical nerd and through and through theatre kid to indoctrinate as many people as possible into the wonderful world of musical theatre!
Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit musical In The Heights which has entered stage right onto the silver screen just in time for summer has already left quite the impression on the world of Tiktok and is one of the best movie adaptions of a hit musical that I have ever seen.
Before we entered “The Room Where it Happens”
Before the smash hit musical Hamilton had hit the Broadway stage and had us all rapping along when it made its debut on Disney+, In The Heights was the original Lin Manuel Miranda masterpiece.
This fun filled musical complete with compelling story and quick witted script has had the musical theatre community dancing in their seats since its debut in 2005, finally making it to Broadway in 2008, scooping 13 Tony award nominations (think of it like the Oscars for the American world of musical theatre) ultimately bring home four trophies, including the Tony Award for Best Musical.
Welcome to Washington Heights
In The Heights tells the story of Washington Heights, a neighbourhood in a borough of Manhattan, New York inhabited by immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Chile and many other countries during the hottest period of the New York summer.
We follow Usnavi and his friends in their struggles to make their dreams a reality by being transported into the Latino culture, Spanish language and amazing music which will have you dancing and singing along for days after you leave the cinema screen.
In The Heights tackles many major issues faced by the Latino immigrant population in America, such as gentrification, racism, the lack of protection for immigrant children under the law and education system and the dissolution of their culture.
The story of young immigrants fighting for documentation is told through the endearing character of young Sonny and the racism built into society through the story of Nina Risaro who returns to the Bario after a year of college in Standford. In The Heights is a moving and musical master class that will transport you to another world and educate you through the screen play of Quiara Alegria Hudes and award winning music of Lin Manuel Miranda, Bill Sherman and Alex Lacamoire.
A Carnival Worthy Cast
This cast is full to the brim of silver screen and Broadway stars, from Hamilton original cast members Anthony Ramos, Christopher Jackson and Miranda himself to Jimmy Smits best known for his stints in The West Wing and Sons of Anarchy, as well as Brooklyn Nine-Nine favourite Stephanie Beatriz, who gave one of my favourite performances of the entire movie through her humour and vocals.
Other stand outs included the fan favourite couple of Benny and Nina, played by The Walking Dead’s Corey Hawkins and Latino singer songwriter Leslie Grace respectively. Wrapping up the award winning cast is Melissa Barrera whose voice is at the centre of the latest TikTok trend thanks to her smashing vocals in the film.
In The Heights, currently sitting at a four star rating on IMBD and a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes is the perfect way to kick start your summer and whet your appetite for wonderful world of musical theatre.
It is the first of a long list of movie musicals to be released this year and next, including smash hit musical Dear Evan Hansen and the highly anticipated Spielberg adaption of the Broadway classic West Side Story staring new comer Rachel Zegler and Anzel Elgort (The Fault in our Stars, Baby Driver).