Lights Up for In the Heights

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Photo Courtesy of In the Heights Movie Twitter

The lights go up for the In the Heights movie airing on June 18th!

Salma Calderon, Editor-In-Chief

Blast your radio for this one folks! From the creator of the hit Broadway musical: Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the director of the movie: Crazy Rich Asians, John M. Chu, present a spectacular film adaptation of a musical of the decade: In the Heights!

In the Heights is an upcoming American musical drama film set in the barrio of Washington Heights, New York, where the Latino community live their days every day starting at the crack of dawn.

This movie is set to hit the real big screens earlier than it was expected to be, official announcement of the film was released sometime early spring by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the original Broadway musical, and Anthony Ramos, actor who plays the leading role in the movie as Usnavi De La Vega.

The musical that was created, directed and starred by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also played Usnavi De La Vega, made its debut on Broadway in 2005 and has made its growth up until now with its new film adaptation that has said to hit the hearts of those watching it.

But. . . what is this movie exactly about? Well, you’re about to find out.

In Washington Heights in New York City, where you can take the A train and go father in Harlem to Northern Manhattan and get of the 18th to take an escalator, we better hope you’re writing this down because you’re about to get tested later.

A Latino community from people far away live their days in the heat with the rents spewing up like no tomorrow and just hard working people making it by the day in hope that their dreams will come true one day. But it’s about to only take a span of three days for the barrio of Nueva York to change forever.

Anthony Ramos is to play the lead character: Usnavi De La Vega (originally played by Lin-Manuel Miranda in the Musical version), a 25-year-old Dominican-American man who owns a small corner shop in Washington Heights called “De La Vega Bodega” with big dreams of saving enough money to make it back home, his folks home just before they passed on and left him alone with memories that burned him like dying embers.

We move from seeing Christopher Jackson wanting to be on the links with Tiger Woods and he’s the caddy, to Corey Hawkins taking it real slow down the highway of the new movie adaptation as Usnavi’s best friend: Benny, an American taxi driver of Washington Heights who works for the Rosario Taxi company with dreams of heading off to a business school, pay the entrance fee and if his friends are lucky they can still be friends with him, jokingly.

Take a deep breath in, Mandy Gonzalez stares out to her new version, Leslie Grace, who plays a special love interest of Benny’s: Nina Rosario, a smart Puerto-Rican girl of Washington Heights barrio who was the one who made it out and traveled off to California to attend Stanford University and comes home with a heart banging secret that has the ladies at the salon say: No Me Digas!

But it wont be long for us to go from Karen Olivio wanting to take walk the JFK plane far away, to Melissa Barrera singing “It Won’t Be Long Now” as Usnavi’s love interest: Vanessa, the tough, pretty girl of the barrio trying to make it out of there with only a simple salon salary and a dream of fashion, despite all the negative aspects thrown at her by her mother.

Though to be there for them all, Olga Merediz returns as Abuela Claudia, the folks abuela who really isn’t their abuela but she practically raises them because that whole corner is her escuela, speaking her words of truth and wisdom, saying “Alabanza”, to raise a glass to God and to be the person everyone needs back home.

But it isn’t over because the ladies from the salon, Daniela (Daphne Rubin-Vega), Carla (Stephanie Beatriz) and Cuca (Dascha Polanco) really step it up with raising their voices, Usnavi’s little cousin: Sonny De La Vega (Gregory Diaz IV) planning to make it big with his activism, and especially Lin-Manuel Miranda playing Piraguero or better known as the Piragua Guy just thinking about his islands back home while up against his ice cream rival: Mr. Softee, who is played by his best acting friend: Christopher Jackson!

Though times may be tough and the ups and downs of the life of these folks really is a drag, they light up their way in the night with fantastic musical songs such as being home with “When You’re Home”, maybe scratching it up with “96,000” and or raising that one beautiful flag to “Carnaval Del Barrio”.

Music that represent the life of these people, the people from away, the people that have the American dream and the dreams they hope one day they can fulfill or at least their children will be able to experience.

Music that lifts the spirits when all is gone and music that really just brings someone to tears, or simply the sounds of a trumpet playing at a club if one wants to feel for a night of dancing.

The music that will tell the story of a young man wanting to go home, a young girl not ready to face her father from coming home for the summer from college, the story of a young woman just wanting to finally make her way out, a young man dreaming of no regrets for breaking his neck for respect or a paycheck, for a woman who just wants the best for her loved one.

There will be fun, music, laughter, crying and most of all the most heartwarming, emotional scenes that we only get a glimpse as music is being released little by little up until the real release date with small trailers till the release date.

Fans have been waiting for this story to unfold, waiting to see Usnavi and Vanessa dance away to what could have been and to see Benny and Nina find their way into their dreams at sunrise, to see Abuela Claudia go home with her mothers dreams finally coming true.

Let’s see where these amazing actors decide to take us in Washington Heights with their performances.

Don’t forget to set a date and think of when to see this spectacular film over on the big screens of your local theaters, surely fireworks will build up in your hearts.

Take the train to the top of the world because you’ll be home with this film!