Monday, November 29, 2021

In the Heights

Adapted from the stage musical, In the Heights follows the lives of several characters in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood. In a reverse of an immigrant chasing the American dream, our main character is a bodega owner (Anthony Ramos) saving his money to leave New York and return to the the Dominican Republic to restart his father's beach-front business. Other characters include his crush (Melissa Barrera), Olga Merediz as the neighborhood's matriarch, and the neighborhood's brightest star (Leslie Grace) returning in failure from Stanford who can't articulate her problems to her father (Jimmy Smits).

In the Heights is a story about dreamers. Each character is chasing a dream or trying to help others achieve their own. The eclectic neighborhood of Dominican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and other nationalities is punctuated by vibrant musical numbers around dreams, love, and everyday life.

While the musical was far from a box office success, and didn't garner anywhere near the attention of Disney+ showing Lin-Manuel Miranda's other musical, there's still quite a bit to appreciate here watching the various characters' stories intertwine. I think it's likely In the Heights will find its audience over time touching the lives of dreamers with its story that highlights underrepresented members of this country whose dreams aren't that different from their neighbors but whose cultural and stylistic influences help tell their story in a different way.

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