Lights up on Washington Heights! movie theaters and HBO Max on June 11, and fans who haven’t been able to see a show in a real theater for more than a year are getting excited for it. The enormous Hamilton fandom is sure to be curious about another Miranda musical, especially since the room where it happens can be your very own living room. Here’s how to watch In the Heights.creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights is coming to
When and how to watch
In the Heights premieres in theaters and on streaming service HBO Max on June 10. You might still see June 11 listed as the opening date in a lot of places online, but the actual release date has moved up one day. Like previous big films released day-and-date in theater and on HBO Max, it’ll be available to stream for one month. That means you have until July 10 to watch it this time round — but don’t worry, after it’s released to rent or buy online and on Blu-ray and DVD, it’ll return to HBO Max in a few months.
HBO Max doesn’t have a free trial, so you’ll either need to sign up with a paying membership (currently $15 a month) or upgrade an existing HBO subscription to include Max. The streamer also just introduced aif you don’t mind commercials.
You might already have access to HBO Max and not even know it. If you currently subscribe to HBO via your cable or satellite provider, you can probably get HBO Max without paying anything extra. We explain it in detail here, but essentially, you’ll need to watch on a smart TV or streaming device — or a Comcast Xfinity box — using the HBO Max app and your home internet connection.
Also, after months of delay, Roku finally gave its streaming devices and TVs access to HBO Max. You can find more information here.
What’s In the Heights all about?
In the Heights takes place over three summer days in the largely Dominican New York neighborhood of Washington Heights. Your lead actor is bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos, aka John Laurens/Philip Hamilton from Hamilton), but the real star is the close-knit neighborhood.
Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the first draft of the musical as a student. After a few years off-Broadway it opened on Broadway in 2008, years before Hamilton, and was nominated for 13 Tony awards, winning 4. The show has also played in London’s West End and on tour across the US.
Unlike the film of Hamilton available to stream on Disney Plus, this new In the Heights movie isn’t just a filmed version of the stage show. It’s an actual feature film shot in New York in 2019. So even if you’ve seen In the Heights on stage, you’ve never seen it with these elaborate sets (swimming pools!) and added movie magic (dancing on the walls!). The film was originally set for a theatrical release in 2020, but delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Who stars in the film?
Get ready for some familiar faces, HamFans. Anthony Ramos, who played John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in Hamilton, stars as Usnavi, Hamilton/In the Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Piraguero, the Piragua Guy, and Christopher Jackson, who starred as George Washington in Hamilton, plays Mr. Softee.
Anthony Ramos stars as Usnavi de la Vega
Corey Hawkins plays Benny
Leslie Grace plays Nina Rosario
Ariana Greenblatt plays young Nina
Ariana S. Gomez plays 12 year-old Nina
Melissa Barrera plays Vanessa
Olga Merediz plays Abuela Claudia
Daphne Rubin-Vega plays Daniela
Gregory Diaz IV plays Sonny de la Vega
Jimmy Smits plays Kevin Rosario
Stephanie Beatriz plays Carla
Dascha Polanco plays Cuca
Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Piraguero, the Piragua Guy
Marc Anthony plays Mr. de la Vega
Noah Catala plays Graffiti Pete
Christopher Jackson plays Mr. Softee
Jon M. Chu, of Crazy Rich Asians, directs
The songs that will stick in your head
Which songs will you remember? Um, all of them? This is a Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, after all. Hamilton fans will instantly recognize the theatrical lyrics mixed with speed-of-light rap that Miranda does better than anyone else — only he could rhyme “hypotheticals” with “set of goals.”
Here are some favorites:
In the Heights
The upbeat, jazzy opening number sets the tone and permanently plants the title in your brain. Just as with the song Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton, the title song explains the plot, introduces characters, raps at the speed of light, and never lets your toes stop tapping.
Sung partially in Spanish, Breathe is Nina’s touching number about how ashamed she feels about disappointing her block with her struggles at college. “Hey guys, it’s me,” she sings. “The biggest disappointment you know. The kid couldn’t hack it. She’s back and she’s walkin’ real slow.”
Someone on the block has bought a $96,000 winning lottery ticket at Usnavi’s bodega, and the characters dream about what they’d do with the money. In true Miranda fashion, pop-culture references include Frodo, Donald Trump (replaced with Tiger Woods for the film), Pinocchio, Obi-Wan Kenobi and more.
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