Editor's note: This story was produced in conjunction with the Latino Communities Reporting Lab.
WALLINGFORD — Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway show, “In The Heights,” made it to the big screen after several release delays due to the pandemic and area Latino residents say seeing the diverse cast made them feel a connection to the movie.
“In the Heights” is an adaptation of the Broadway musical by Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes directed by Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians”). The story is set in the largely Latino community in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City. These Latino families are working class, struggling to make a living, but continue to push forward with pride.
Austin Washington, supervisor at Holiday Cinemas in Wallingford, said people from many backgrounds have come to see the movie.
“People come out energized from the high energies and the celebration of Latin music,” he said.
While Miranda received criticism over his lack of Afro-Latino representation in the film, he apologized in a Twitter post addressing the comments.
Maria Mitchell from Meriden said the movie brought back memories of her upbringing.
“It was the little things that reminded me of my grandmother. It was about family and unity,” she said.
The film discusses the trials and tribulations faced by the main character. It emphasizes how neighborhoods see one another as one big family, often going to each other for advice and celebrations.
Angelica Mcneil from Meriden said she learned more about her heritage from the movie.
“To me, it was about surviving in the United States and about the culture. I learned a lot more about Dominican culture too. It was like a history lesson on where we come from. It shows we are all equal, and I thought it was great,” she said.
The storyline included diverse characters that represented various cultures in Latin America and the Caribbean. The main character roles were from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
Oscar Montes, from Puerto Rico, said the movie is great for those who are interested in learning more about the Latino community.
Miranda has “always been active in advocating for the Latinx community,” he said. “The movie showed lots of representation from many different cultures throughout. I did wish the music soundtrack was more diverse.”