Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton was, and still sorta is, a cultural phenomenon the likes of which we don’t see often from the stage. The film not only transcended Broadway but, if there had been no pandemic, the live recording would’ve done the same thing on the big screen that it did on Disney+. That level of success has made Miranda one of the most sought-after contributors in Hollywood, both in front of the screen and behind it, but now comes a new challenge. In the Heights is an adaptation of Miranda’s powerful, energetic debut musical and it’s coming to theaters and HBO Max this summer.
The film is a dazzling, vibrant, musical celebration of Black and Brown pride, set on the streets of Washington Heights. The cast is led by Hamilton standout Anthony Ramos, along with Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Stephanie Beatriz, Jimmy Smits, Melissa Barrera, Dascha Polanco, Marc Anthony, and Miranda himself in a small role.
Behind the camera is Jon M. Chu, and while we might recognize him as the director of Crazy Rich Asians and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, we can’t forget the amazing dance choreography he brought to the Step Up franchise, skills that look to pay off nicely here. The screenplay is by the play’s co-creator Quiara Alegría Hudes.
Here’s the synopsis: …Lights up in Washington Heights. The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community. At the intersection of it all is the likable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines, and sings about a better life. …
In the Heights hits theaters and HBO Max on June 18th. The film has taken its sweet time getting to this point. Originally announced back in 2008 with Kenny Ortega (High School Musical) at the helm, it was shelved and revived when Warner Bros. acquired it at the height of Miranda’s popularity. The release was then delayed from last summer until now because of COVID-19. Check out two new trailers and a bunch of posters below!