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the heights.


I didn't know much about In The Heights, the Broadway musical, before it dropped last weekend. I knew it had been written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame) and that it had been very successful when it ran on Broadway. In The Heights came before the much-talked-about Hamilton, and I was curious to see how it would sound to me. I'm not super hot on rap or hip-hop but I like spoken word poetry and wordplay. And I like rhythm. And this musical seemed to have a lot of that. So I dived in.

Also, full disclaimer: I'm not a theater kid. If you want to read a more detailed review, you'll have to head to MyNewPlaidPants and read what they have to say, which goes deeper into things that I would not touch with a ten inch pole cause I know nothing about musicals. Come to think of it, I should have hung out with those theater kids more, natch. Then I could run my mouth talking about In The Heights.

But I do know what I like. And I liked In The Heights. Side story: one of my ex-boyfriend's aunt used to live in Washington Heights. Sylvia, was her name, like my mom. She was the typical immigrant, having come to the United States in the early seventies and having stayed until she passed away. I understand she led a very colorful life (she was the person who got me the Sex book by Madonna because I could not get it!!!) and she would tell stories about her neighborhood that always fascinated me. She would have been the grandma in the movie.

For me, In The Heights is more than just a musical: it spoke to me of the immigrant experience. And that may be something that many reviewers and movie-goers could probably fail to connect with. It's the flavor of the piece, not the structure or the presentation, even though those were attractive to me, too. The musical has the usual musical-theater tropes and I know you'll spot them a mile away. What draw me in was the storytelling, the music, the easiness with which it transitioned from spoken-word to music to dance to dialogue and the idea of having to carve your own country. It was also about the characters, that even though were part of an ensemble, were able to shine on their own. It was their stories, their lingo, their code-switching, the meals they had, even their clothing. It was their struggle living in between two cultures and while being able to navigate both, feeling at the same time unable to choose one. And why should you?

No, you don't need to be part of the Diaspora to enjoy In The Heights, but maybe you do need to know about being an immigrant in the United States or be able to empathize with their plead to gel with the narrative. I think knowing someone who is an immigrant or being an immigrant will allow people to relate much more strongly to this musical. Privilege blinds us all. Especially when it comes to the pledge of others. Also, I think that In The Heights is not a documentary, it's a feeling. And it should be approached as such.

I loved the music, the energy, the characters. Many of them are played by unknown actors (I spotted some familiar faces, though) but they are all super charismatic. I also spied a same-sex relationship and as many body types as you can find in a musical. The dance numbers are especially cool. And the lead actor is super cute. If I'd have to say anything, is that I would have liked to see one or two dark-skinned Afro-Latinx sprinkled in the movie. Dominicans and Puerto Ricans come in all colors, after all. 

So if you want to get your Latin on, head to the theater or snatch someone's HBO pass. Do a movie night with vaccinated friends or just plan a get-out-of -the- house moment and go see it. I recommend it. It's fun. And it's eye opening. It's always good to peek into what one 'other' has to say. Especially after immigrants have been demonized in this country for so long. 

XOXO

P.S. oh, here's Anthony Ramos, natch.




Comments

  1. Um, maybe I'll pass on the movie and just get the soundtrack to listen to while I watch Anthony Ramos in his drawers. He is a hot little Latino nugget.

    I kid, though, kind of, because we're off to see this on the weekend. I've been hearing the music for years and just love the beats and the joy of it all.

    Still, some Anthony Ramos in underwear ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha
      Oh, you'll have to tell us what you think about it. Really.
      And Anthony should stay in his underwear for long periods of time. It should be in his contract.

      XOXO

      Delete
  2. I hope to see this. From what I’ve heard, the hype is real.

    And I think Lin addressed the lack of dark skinned Afro-Latino representation in a Twitter post on 6/24 and said he fell short. He is learning.

    XOXO 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There were a few in there, with U5 speaking roles. But, it doesn't fall on his shoulders - he didn't direct it or cast it.

      Delete
    2. I went in without knowing much about it and I liked it.
      And of course Twitter had something to say! LOL Always.
      But Big is right. He did not direct it (it was the guy from Crazy Rich Asians) or cast it. But I love that he simply accepted the fact that it could be better.

      XOXO

      Delete
  3. Ummmm.... I didn't HATE it, but I didn't like it, either. The stage musical is SO much better. This director tried too hard to cram in too many subplots while the crux of Manuel's story is that of the immigrant trying to adapt, to fit in...but still be authentic and true to culture, to preserve it and protect the Heights from Gentrification. I could continue to pick this thing apart (like Smartphones in 1982??), but.... The music, the beats, the dancing - all wonderful, bringing absolute joy to the screen. Maybe the movie musical is not dead after all. XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I guess it's like book adaptations. The Book is almost always better.
      But still, for someone who is not familiar with the original material like myself, it was a great introduction to it. Now I want to see the production.

      XOXO

      Delete
  4. CNN yesterday, showed an apology from Lin-Manual Miranda for only using "light skinned" people in prominent roles and "darker skinned" people in the background. I haven't seen the show. Perhaps after I re-binge watch QAF.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel bad that he's having to defend someone else's decisions. Manuel didn't direct this.

      Delete
    2. Ohhh so that's what the whole brouhaha is about?
      I did see some dark-skinned people, though. Would have loved to see more, because the Dominicans range from the lightest to the darkest but one cannot keep everybody happy, right? It was also not a documentary, for Pete's sake.
      And are you watching the original or the American QAF?

      XOXO

      Delete
  5. It's on my list, but in conservative, white Central PA who knows how long it's going to be playing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, it may stay for a few weeks. Movie theaters are just starting to recover.
      I watched it on HBO, though, and I bet is On Demand. But watching it on the big screen should do it more justice.
      I would have loved to see it in a drive-in theater in the middle of the summer.

      XOXO

      Delete
  6. I never heard of this either....seemed to come out of no where. I would be interested in seeing it...your post is the most I've read about this. I get hesitant with musicals...most I've seen I tend to love or hate them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard about them wanting to make movie and that was all.
      It was my friends who loved Hamilton who got me into it. Many of the gay blogs here have talked about it, too.
      And I'm like you with musicals. But I liked this one.

      XOXO

      Delete
  7. Howdy Sixpence. I saw you comment on anne marie's blog and realized that I hadn't visited in a bit. I think you might have gotten tired of this dumb, white guy from Idaho talking about his kids all the time but I hope all is well. Your feedback about "In The Heights" matches everything else I have heard about it so I guess I might have to schedule a movie night with Mrs. Shife this weekend. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG Mr. Shife!
      Long time no see! You are right, I have not visited you in awhile. Have to fix that.
      And of course I never tire of hearing about the kids. Hope they're doing well.
      Oh, and if you take Mrs. Shife to see this one, let us know!!!

      XOXO

      Delete
  8. I read recently that Lin-Manuel Miranda has been criticized for not including any black characters and has apologized for the oversight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG
      Really. I didn't think it was soooo important. But representation, am I right? Difficult to please everybody.

      XOXO

      Delete
  9. I doubt I will ever see this. Musical theatre and I have been on the outs for years and years. It's like Santa Claus... I stopped believing in musical theatre about the time Annie came out. I knew there was something very wrong happening... Oh, I like Annie, fine. The music is fun. But by the time Rent became a thing I was like so over the whole thing. I just... can't. I don't find it magical, I find it manipulative. I don't find it energetic, I find it frenetic and ego driven. Dance is rarely dance... it's acrobatics and music video bs. The music all feels and sounds derivative. I don't need a faux version of life shoved up my azz like it's a rainbow. If it makes people happy, or causes them to reconsider their standing on a social issue? Bravo. Well, done. But... it's not for me. So - now I will kindly stop talking about it. (Roll eyes, here.) Kizzes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and one more whine. The acting? Musical theatre 'acting' is the worst. It's so forced and so stagey - it ends up triggering an anxiety attack. I end up just wanting to run up stage and punch the actor in the face, then find the director and bitchslap them until they cry like a little girl. For the third time this week, I get to apply the phrase... CRIMES AGAINST NATURE! - okay... so, someday I will tell you how I REALLY FEEL. (No, no I won't.)

      I'll go sleep out by milk bottles again tonight.

      Delete
    2. I'm not very much into musical theater.
      Never saw La-La Land, for example. I'm sitting here trying to remember which was the last musical I saw. Can't remember. The suspension of disbelief is stronger with them.
      LOL
      I can just see you sitting out with the milk bottles!!

      XOXO

      Delete
    3. I'm a sucker for musicals...yeah, I am. There, I said it. But La-La Land was horrific, ridiculous. If you ever get the chance to see that - do yourself a favor: Take a pass. XOXO

      Delete
  10. love the two video. So sexy guy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is super attractive.
      I hope we get to see him in other roles soon.

      XOXO

      Delete

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