From the star who made “I’m not throwing away my shot” into a household phrase, Lin-Manuel Miranda brings In the Heights from the stage to the big screen – although on a smaller scale than before. While Miranda is known for creating the smash Broadway hit, Hamilton, a musical about the history of Alexander Hamilton, In the Heights was what made him known on the Broadway scene.
The winner of four Tony’s at the time of its release, In the Heights is full of fun choreography, great music, and stories that will have you crying about the beauty that is the Washington Heights neighborhood in NYC. Hamilton was able to get its big break on Disney+ this year. It’s about time that In The Heights received one as well. With all the new movies coming out in 2021, this is all we know about the upcoming musical film.
In The Heights Will Release In Theaters and HBO Max On June 18, 2021
While it was originally supposed to come out in the summer of 2020 – with the first trailer coming out way back in December of 2019 – the film was pushed back off release due to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
However, since the deal that Warner Brothers and HBO Max made, In the Heights will release in theaters on a new opening date of June 18, 2021, while also simultaneously coming to HBO Max for your from-home viewing pleasure.
In The Heights Is An Adapted Musical From Lin-Manuel Miranda
While it is fun to see the brand-new sets, cast, and everything else that the movie has to offer, it is important to remember that this musical got its start on the stages of Broadway, as many musicals do. Lin-Manuel Miranda, a frequent visitor to Washington Heights, considering he once lived right next to the neighborhood, thinks of the musical as a love letter to the place that he called home.
Miranda is known for his work on several other films, whether that be through acting or his musical talents. He composed all the songs in the hit Disney musical Moana for its 2016 release,and had a starring role in Mary Poppins Returns, so it’s no surprise that now that he’s broken into the mainstream, he’s bringing In the Heights to the public for many more to enjoy, as well.
The Story Of In The Heights Will Focus Around Washington Heights
As mentioned before, the premise of In the Heights will focus on the titular community, and is as follows:
Lights up on Washington Heights…the scent of Cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st subway shop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knight community. At the intersection of it all is the likeable, magnetic bodega owner, Usnavi, who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.
While the main story does focus on Usnavi and his daily upkeep with trying to chase his dreams, In the Heights provides many opportunities for rich storytelling. With a neighborhood as diverse and beautiful as Washington Heights is, there are so many tales to tell. Oh, and if you were a fan of the rap in Hamilton, you’ll surely enjoy some of the music in this banger of a musical as well.
Expect A “Big Swing” With Bright Colors And Beautiful Musical Numbers
Fun fact: when Lin-Manuel Miranda first released In the Heights, he didn’t think it was going to be as popular as it was. Even when he was making the movie, he thought it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but more like an “indie film” than a big-time motion picture.
But, Jon M. Chu, the director who signed on for In the Heights and is more commonly known for his hit, Crazy Rich Asians, had other ideas. Lin-Manuel Miranda talked about Chu in one of his latest interviews with Variety, saying how he had these big ideas for the upcoming musical:
The lesson I got from Jon is we’re allowed to take up space with our stories. He used his post Crazy Rich Asians capital to say, ‘No, we get to take a big swing.’ This story, which could very easily have been this indie tiny musical about this neighborhood, he was like, 'This deserves a big swing. And this deserves to be as big as any of the other movies out there.'
When I think of movie musicals, I think of big hits like Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and more, so I’m hoping that both Jon M. Chu and Lin-Manuel Miranda have stuck to their plan to make this musical as big as possible.
Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos Will Play The Main Character, Usnavi, In The Film
You might have heard of Anthony Ramos before, the starring actor who will be taking on the role of Usnavi, the energetic bodega owner from the new film. Ramos was actually one of the main actors of the original Hamilton cast, where he played both John Laurens and Philip Hamilton.
Anthony Ramos has actually been in In the Heights prior to this starring role. He actually performed in a touring production of the show back in 2012, where he played Sonny de la Vega, the cousin of Usnavi in the musical. However, he's now switched over to the main role. Talk about moving on up.
The In The Heights Cast Is Full Of Talented Actors
Besides the main character, In the Heights has plenty of star power waiting to greet us upon its release. There are several Broadway stars who will be along for the ride, including Daphne Rubin-Vega who was in Rent, Gregory Diaz who starred in Matilda the Musical, and an original cast member from In the Heights is returning in the form of Olga Merediz, as Abuela Claudia.
Several other stars have also joined the lineup from TV and movies alike. Dascha Polanco from Orange is the New Black is involved, along with Stephanie Beatriz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Corey Hawkins from Straight Outta Compton, and more.
Watch The Trailer For In The Heights
For anyone who hasn’t seen the most recent trailer, be sure to check it out!
Get excited for June 18, because you’re surely going to be shaking your behind to the awesomeness that is In the Heights.