In The Heights on the big screen

Duana Posted by Duana at March 1, 2017 21:11:48 March 1, 2017 21:11:48

I guarantee the number one question Lin-Manuel Miranda is asked by people who don’t know is “When is Hamilton going to be a movie?” He always answers “Oh… eventually”, which is polite because it doesn’t say what I would say, which is ‘what, being the most successful Broadway debut ever and breaking all kinds of records isn’t good enough for you? You need it to go to the multiplex? Do you not remember what happened to RENT?”

Once again, this lack of diplomacy is sometimes indicative of why I am me and the Uber-successful are them.

But—but! Yesterday we got a bit of delightful news that LMM’s earlier musical, the 13-TONY-nominated In The Heights will become a movie and that it’s …because of Jay Z! Not only, of course, he’s supposed to be one of 6 producers—but it doesn’t hurt to have that kind of name recognition and endorsement on a project that might otherwise be dismissed as ‘another musical’. I thoroughly believe that we ought to see theatre as its own reward, and want everyone to see more of it**, but I also get that seeing a Broadway show is not actually that feasible for that many people, and that movies have a much wider reach. This is great news. 

The other reason Jay Z’s attachment is exciting is it ensures the right messaging is applied. I mentioned the other day that my first knowledge of In The Heights was from Britney's 2008 documentary; frustratingly, I also seem to remember her saying it was a dance-based show on that documentary. I remember being surprised that a dance-based show was doing so well on Broadway, insert piles and piles of my own bias here. It’s been almost a decade, and I haven’t seen that doc since. I don’t know if she said that or I conflated it with something else, or if ‘it’s a dance show’ is something her people told her to get her to go see it. Regardless, that’s not the first description I would use for this incredibly engrossing musical.

In The Heights is a story that takes place in Washington Heights, where LMM grew up, and it’s just as immersive and exciting and funny as Hamilton, albeit with a totally different vibe. My phone has committed suicide today (again, I echo Lainey in thanking it for not doing so on the weekend) so I cannot loop the tracks as much as I would like to, but “In The Heights”, the track, is going to give you “Aaron Burr, Sir” vibes; “96,000” feels like “Never Gon’ Be President Now”, and “Everything I Know” will make you cry, no effort required.

Casting for this is going to be a party. Production, etc, is going to fuel our delights. If it isn’t already obvious, the show is about everything LMM holds dear:  ambition, immigration, who you’re supposed to become underneath the expectations of your friends, your family, your community… I suspect a certain orange blowhard would hate it. 

LMM says he won’t play Usnavi but will maybe poke his head in for some role or other…so about what I said about the first thing that’s not successful? It’s not this, and it’s not soon. Which is more than fine with me.

** Possibly unnecessary PSA – I just got an email that there’s a new block of tickets for Hamilton Chicago available. Maybe you all already knew this, but in case not, I never know what to do with these emails short of fist-pump, but if you can go to Chicago, go get tickets, and if you can’t, sign up for the HamiltonBroadway emails—they’re how I was able to get tickets in the first place.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/ John Shearer/ Getty Images

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