When news broke out back in October 2018 about a worldwide online audition for a movie musical, everyone on the internet was intrigued. What could this movie musical be? Is it a famous musical? Who is creating it? The internet-wide casting call asked for Latinx dancers, singers, and actors to star in a Broadway musical-turned-movie. The Broadway musical was none other than "In the Heights". Created by "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, "In the Heights" is a musical about the residents that live in the Hispanic-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York. The central storyline focuses on the fact that someone in the neighborhood has won a $96,000 lottery ticket.
Lin-Manuel Miranda starred as the main character and narrator Usnavi de la Vega back in its Broadway run in 2008. The show gained thirteen Tony award nominations and won four them, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. With the success of Lin-Manuel Miranda's first ever musical, a film adaptation had been in the works since 2008. Unfortunately, it had been moved around multiple companies before finally finding a home with Warner Bros. Pictures in a studio bidding war that resulted in a $50 million payout.
Anthony Ramos, who starred in "Hamilton" as Hamilton's son, Philip, as well as his best friend, John Laurens, has been cast to play Usnavi. Ramos is a very talented close friend of Miranda's. There's footage of Anthony Ramos portraying Usnavi in a Kennedy Center performance of "In the Heights".
The musical is composed of songs with not only rhythmic Latin music but hip-hop and freestyle rap. The combination of these different cultural music genres makes for a distinct-sounding musical. It's this same type of music that brings a refreshing look and a bigger audience towards Broadway. Not to mention how this musical serves as a reminder of the lack of Hispanic representation in Broadway musicals. How many Broadway musicals are there that represent a Latinx community? Very, very little.
This film adaptation will bring fun musical numbers to the silver screen, as well as a deep, heartfelt story. This movie will be a cultural explosion and can be expected to do great at the box office. Warner Bros. has a projected release date of June 26, 2020. People will not be ready for the amazing soundtrack this movie musical will be bringing. In the meantime, you could always check out the Original Broadway Cast Album just to get a taste of this amazing music.
I'm looking forward to seeing an almost fully Latinx cast (with the exclusion of Benny, a non-Hispanic character) on the big screen. It's about time!