Lin-Manuel Miranda's Jon M. Chu-directed musical will finally debut at Tribeca.

By Joey Nolfi
April 16, 2021 at 09:15 AM EDT
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In the Heights (2020 film)

The Tribeca Film Festival will turn the lights up on Washington Heights — literally — with a world-premiere screening of producer Lin-Manuel Miranda's long-awaited musical movie In the Heights.

The Jon M. Chu-directed film (based on Miranda's Tony Award-winning stage production of the same name) will hold its first public screening at the Manhattan festival, which will host an event at the United Palace theater in the same location where much of the film takes place.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Tribeca for a city-wide takeover of In the Heights. New York, and specifically Washington Heights, is the lead character in our film — its vibrancy and energy are unmatched," Chu said in a statement. "How incredible that after a year of isolation, New Yorkers from across all boroughs will have an opportunity to see it first, together, and join us in the celebration of life coming back."

Following the story of a bodega owner, Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who spends his days singing on the streets of New York while dreaming of a better life, In the Heights was originally slated to premiere in June of 2020, though the coronavirus pandemic forced Warner Bros. to reschedule the film for a release on June 11 in theaters and on HBO Max.

In the Heights
Credit: Macall Polay/Warner Bros.

At a recent press event, Miranda called the film "a big movie musical," and described his hesitance to lean into that throughout production: "I think we're so used to asking for less, just to ask to occupy space, as Latinos," he explained, "Jon [Chu], every step of the way, was like, 'No, this is a big movie. These guys have big dreams. We're allowed to go that big.' I'm just thrilled with what he did because I think it's bigger than any of us ever dreamed of."

Tribeca previously announced plans to re-establish the festival as a live, in-person cinema event for its 20th anniversary, after canceling its 2020 edition in the wake of the pandemic.

In the Heights — also starring Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Dascha Polanco, and Jimmy Smits — is set to screen simultaneously across all five boroughs of the city in multiple open-air venues on June 9, two days before its nationwide rollout.

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In the Heights (2020 film)

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  • Jon M. Chu

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