In the Heights movie – cast, trailer, release date, soundtrack and all about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s film musical

Usnavi and Vanessa dance in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, directed by Jon M. Chu.

© Warner Bros. Pictures

Whether you’re a die-hard musical fan or don’t usually make a song and dance about show tunes, we reckon you’re going to love In the Heights.

Swirling its way towards an ODEON near you, it's a gloriously uplifting cinematic adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stage musical about an immigrant community in New York City experiencing love, loss and laughter over three memorable days and nights.

In the Heights release date: 25 June 2021

What is In the Heights? Origins, plot and why it deserves to be seen on the big screen

Even if you’ve never seen it, chances are you’ve heard of the 2015 musical Hamilton and its composer and creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Its worldwide success has been extraordinary, making Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns) a star, and his signature blend of rap and unforgettable melodies the biggest thing to happen to musical theatre in a long time.

Conceived in 1999 – when Miranda was still at college – and brought to Broadway in 2008, In the Heights is a story of belonging and dreams for a better future set in the Manhattan neighbourhood of Washington Heights, and centred around a corner convenience store run by second-generation immigrant Usnavi de la Vega.

Poster for In the Heights. Directed by Jon M. Chu.

© Warner Bros. Pictures

Set over three eventful days, and with the largely Dominican neighbourhood on the cusp of gentrification, Usnavi and a handful of long-time residents grapple with questions of identity, ambition and how communities thrive and fade away.

In the Heights is a fantastically entertaining musical, full of memorable tunes, vivid and likeable characters, and inventive storytelling. And, thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), the transition to the big screen has given In the Heights the real-world backdrop it deserves, creating a sensational visual experience to match the musical one.

If you’re looking for a perfect example of the Joy of Cinema in action, this is it. So don’t waste this feel-good film on the small screen and sub-par sound: experience it with us at ODEON on the big screen and with glorious surround sound.

 


 

In the Heights cast and characters. Who’s who in In the Heights?

♦ Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born, Godzilla: King of Monsters) is Usnavi de la Vega

Owner of the corner convenience store in the film’s neighbourhood of Washington Heights, and the musical’s main narrator, Usnavi was named by his Dominican parents after they saw ‘US Navy’ on the side of a ship as they arrived in America.

Raised by Abuela Claudia after his mum and dad passed on, Usnavi dreams of living in the Dominican Republic someday.

Usnavi de la Vega looks out from his Bodega at the neighbourhood in the movie musical In the Heights. Directed by Jon M. Chu.

© Warner Bros. Pictures

♦ Leslie Grace is Nina Rosario

Nina is the barrio’s (neighbourhood) success story – a super-smart young woman who gained a place at prestigious Stanford University on the West Coast.

Her parents have worked so hard to support her success, but when the film’s events begin she has returned to Washington Heights on vacation, full of doubts about her future.

Benny and Nina express their love for one another backdropped by the George Washington Bridge in In the Heights. Directed by Jon M. Chu.

© Warner Bros. Pictures

♦ Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, BlacKkKlansman) is Benny

Benny works as the dispatch for Nina’s father’s taxi cab firm. He’s one of the few people in the neighbourhood who doesn’t speak Spanish, but he wants to learn. And that may have something to do with the way he feels about Nina.

♦ Melissa Barrera (Dos Veces Tú, Siempre Tuya Acapulco) is Vanessa

Like Nina, Vanessa has ambitions to get out of the barrio. She’s working hard to get the deposit for an apartment downtown hoping it will lead to greater opportunities. Beautiful and driven, she currently works at Daniela’s hair salon. And while she turns a lot of heads, she’s drawn only to the shy Usnavi.

♦ Olga Merediz (The Place Beyond the Pines) is ‘Abuela’ Claudia

Claudia is the barrio’s matriarch who emigrated to the US from Cuba back in 1943. She almost single-handedly raised Usnavi after his parents died, but to many people in the area she is an unofficial but beloved abuela (grandmother).

♦ Gregory Diaz IV (Vampires vs The Bronx, New Amsterdam) is Sonny de la Vega

Sonny is Usnavi’s younger cousin and works at the corner store (bodega) with him. Well, we say ‘work’. He can seem pretty lazy sometimes, but he’s smart, thoughtful and cares deeply about social justice.

♦ Daphne Rubin-Vega (Wild Things, Jack Goes Boating) is Daniela

Daniela runs the local hair salon. She lives for drama and likes nothing more than to receive, embellish and amplify new nuggets of gossip from her patrons. If something’s going on in Washington Heights, Daniela knows about it.

Abuela Claudia is surrounded by friends from the barrio in the movie musical In the Heights. Directed by Jon M. Chu.

© Warner Bros. Pictures

♦ Jimmy Smits (Star Wars Saga, NYPD Blue) is Kevin Rosario

Kevin is Nina’s father. He owns and runs a local taxi cab firm. He’s protective of his daughter and has a deep personal stake in her dreams of making it out of the bario, in part because he broke a family tradition of being farmers to try and make his fortune in the USA.

♦ Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, Mary Poppins Returns) is Piragua guy

The genius behind Hamilton and In the Heights played Usnavi on Broadway but felt he was too old now to take the role in the big-screen adaptation. And so he plays the Piragua guy, who sells his delicious, Puerto Rican shaved ice desserts in the bario and is constantly trying to stave off competition from the Mister Softee ice cream truck.

 


 

In the Heights trailer. Colourful, captivating escapism

Need a quick pick-me-up? Could you use a little colour, warmth and spectacle in your day?

Then look no further than the gloriously feel-good In the Heights trailer. Bending reality just a little in the service of song, dance and storytelling, it’s two minutes and 24 seconds of fabulous, life-affirming feels. Enjoy.

In the Heights soundtrack – Top 5 In the Heights songs

We love a great soundtrack – check out 10 of the greatest soundtracks of all time – and In the Heights is awash with gorgeous, Caribbean-inspired tunes that were made to move to (and be moved by).

But out of In the Heights’ 23 terrific tracks these are our absolute favourites.

 

♦ In the Heights – Usnavi and Company

Spun out from a signature Lin-Manuel Miranda rap, In the Heights finds Usnavi opening up the De La Vega Bodega as Washington Heights wakes up to a new day and many of its residents add their voices to his own. Starting off simply, it grows into a gloriously uplifting snapshot of a corner of Manhattan on the cusp of change.

♦ No Me Diga – Daniela, Carla, Vanessa, and Nina

Led by the irrepressibly theatrical salon owner, Daniela, ‘no me diga’ translates as ‘you don’t say’, and this refrain peppers the song as the stylists and patrons alike spill tea about the bario’s goings-on and juicy rumours. Infectiously energising, this is a big grin of a song.

Benny and Nina face a hopeful new day in the movie musical In the Heights. Directed by Jon M. Chu.

© Warner Bros. Pictures

♦ When You’re Home – Nina, Benny and Company

All the feels come out in this beautiful song that finds Nina and Benny reminiscing about their childhoods in the Heights and how far they’ve come, and the pair begin to acknowledge their feelings for one another now that Nina has returned from university. One of many to-die-for duets.

♦ Everything I Know – Nina

As Nina fondly remembers Abuela helping her with her homework when she was a kid, she finds the perspective she needs to acknowledge that getting to Stanford isn’t just her success, but is built on the efforts of the whole bario. It’s a bittersweet song with a divine melody and simple, unshowy accompaniment.

♦ Champagne – Vanessa and Usnavi

In this sweetly awkward duet, Vanessa’s gift of a bottle of bubbly to thank Usnavi for helping her secure her apartment downtown becomes a moment of realisation of her feelings for him just as he plans to leave the Heights. Meanwhile, shy Usnavi seems caught up in how fiddly it is to open a bottle of Champagne…

1-sheet poster for the movie musical In the Heights. Directed by Jon M. Chu.

© Warner Bros. Pictures

The In the Heights movie is pure cinematic escapism.

Colourful, choreographed to perfection and full of drama, spectacle and unforgettable tunes.

And there's only one place to experience it in its full glory - the big screen.

 


 

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