Can the trailer to a movie of a musical you haven’t seen or listened to evoke nostalgia and give you hope on the one-year anniversary of your world changing?
I say yes.
Over the last few weeks, the only stories that my brain could hold had to do with The Television Event of the Year and all the articles that marked the beginning of the U.S. shutdown due COVID-19, but this weekend seemed eventful, pop culture-wise. JLo and ARod broke up and then maybe they didn’t. Beyoncé actually showed up at the Grammys even though they, as always, did not deserve her brief appearance. The Academy could not bother to nominate Spike Lee or Regina King’s work. After a weekend in which I did (and mostly succeeded to) rest and not work so much, I sat down to meditate (who am I, now?!), and right after, I remembered that there was an In The Heights trailer waiting for me.
I smiled so big and teared up. Seeing huge groups of people dancing in the streets was both painful and joyful. It hurt to see these dancing sequences because they made me think of how much I miss a real pachanga, like my comadre’s wedding in January 2020, or how amazing it is to dance to your favorite Marc Anthony song with another comadre as she turns 40 (I miss my comadres). But the dancing and singing also made me feel hopeful. Maybe it’s the fact that more people are getting vaccinated around me (I wish more of my loved ones in Texas and Mexico were as lucky), but there was a part of me that could imagine seeing it in a theater this summer. At least at a drive-in?
I am trying to remember the last movie I saw in the theater. It was probably an MCU flick. I am a much bigger fan of the small screen (WandaVision, I already miss you so!), but this trailer got me hoping I can ask a friend to babysit my kids (or have my husband stay home) so I can enjoy (and cry at) this movie in the dark.
But I think even seeing In The Heights on HBO Max would be amazing. I missed my opportunity to see In The Heights when it toured Southern California and though I downloaded it, I’ve never listened to its soundtrack. I don’t know why. I almost did the same with Hamilton until a student of mine really pushed me to listen. And then I saw that show twice when it came to town! I’ve already written in this space for my love of Quiara Alegría Hudes’s work, so I am excited to see her words come alive on the big screen. While I remember most of the musical’s premise from a glance at its Wikipedia page years ago, I want to see it without knowing too much. I watched bootleg videos of a few songs from Hamilton’s original cast before I saw the touring live performances, and I wish I hadn’t—I wish I’d allowed myself to be surprised when I finally experienced it live. I want the surprise. I need the (good) surprise!
So it’s good that they held out for this movie and didn’t release it in the void that was 2020. Watching the trailer on Sunday night made me all sorts of emotional; it made me miss those who are far away for I don’t know how long, those I’ve only seen on my computer screen or while wearing a mask, AND it helped me imagine a sueñito that doesn’t seem so small now. It helped me imagine that my dream of dancing and celebrating with my loved ones can come true for us once again.