In The Heights Fans Can't Get Enough Of That Hamilton Reference

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Lin-Manuel Miranda has provided massive musical blockbusters for the past two summers. While last year saw the filmed stage version of Hamilton hit Disney+, the movie adaptation of his first Broadway blockbuster In the Heights arrived one week ago. Now that the moviegoing public has been able to see every beautiful song, they also spotted a sly Hamilton easter egg in the new movie musical. And the fans really can't get enough.

In the Heights tells a very different story from Hamilton, telling a more capsulated narrative set in a modern timeline. The film version made a number of changes to the stage musical, helping to keep even the most hardcore fan on their toes. One of the surprises came around halfway through In the Heights' runtime, where Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Smits) calls Nina's college. While on hold, we hear a version of Hamilton banger "You'll Be Back." It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but one that moviegoers were thrilled with. As one fan posted on Twitter,

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"You'll Be Back" and its two reprises typically put Hamilton audiences in stitches (especially when Jonathan Groff is spitting like crazy), and features the full might of the show's pit musicians. That's why hearing the simple waiting room version of the track is such a funny moment during In the Heights. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker Jon M. Chu didn't fill the new movie with references to Miranda's other musical, but it was just enough to send folks to social media in order to react to the fun easter egg.

In the Heights is available for a limited time on HBO Max. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

While the Hamilton reference in In the Heights doesn't hit the audience over its head, it got the attention of multiple moviegoers in the week since it arrived in theaters and on HBO Max. The lyric-less chorus of the track is a serious ear worm, especially because there are three different version of "You'll Be Back" throughout Hamilton's two acts. King George is also arguably the biggest source of comedy throughout the show, which is why his song is the perfect one to delight audiences. Another moviegoer posted their reaction, saying:

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Of course, the point of Easter Eggs is that they're usually subtle. They offer the chance for filmmakers to get a bit tongue-in-cheek, and see how much audiences are paying attention. In the Heights' reference to Hamilton definitely falls under that category, as looking down at your phone or focusing on Jimmy Smits' performance could result in missing it altogether. Another fan expressed this, revealing they had to rewind to make sure they didn't miss the quick nod to "You'll Be Back." As they put it,

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Of course, hardcore Hamilton fans (affectionally called Hamilfans), might argue that there's another A+ reference during In the Heights. Namely because original George Washington actor plays a small role as a Mister Softee driver who is feuding with Lin-Manuel Miranda's Piragua Guy. Washington's performance was immortalized with Disney+'s Hamilton movie, which is likely why he's so recognizable to the general public.

But in the end, Christopher Jackson's inclusion isn't really a Hamilton easter egg at all. Because prior to playing George Washington, Jackson worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda by originating the role of Benny in the original Broadway cast of In the Heights. Still, fans couldn't help by make a connection to his acclaimed run as the first president of the United States. Check it out below.

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That's a solid Hamilton reference, and highlights how Lin-Manuel Miranda has formed a company of actors to collaborate with. While Olga Merediz is the only original In the Heights star to reprise her role in the film, Miranda still found ways to include the rest of the ensemble including Christopher Jackson. There are a number of cameos featuring the original cast, and they're also heard in the soundtrack of In the Heights' movie, bringing stunning ensemble vocals to life on the big screen

In the Heights is available now in theaters and for a limited time on HBO Max. Be sure to check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.