If you didn’t want to dance the streets with the fire hydrants open, you haven’t seen “In the Heights”. Before the summer heatwave subsides, do it. It’s a happy slice of life, filled with enough dancing to make the people of “West Side Story” hide in shame.
Director Jon M. Chu also gives the story a more vivid shade, making it appear less desperate than the story Lin-Manuel Miranda told on stage.
A bodega owner named Usnavi (played by Miranda on stage, Anthony Ramos here) is the touchstone for a community of characters living in Washington Heights, New York. Interdependent, connected and all capable of singing and dancing, they dream of winning the lottery that could give them an exit ticket. When Usnavi learns that someone has bought a ticket worth $ 96,000 from his store, the wheels start to turn.
Usnavi would like to return to the Dominican Republic and restore his family home; Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), his crush, would like to realize his dream of design; Benny (Corey Hawkins) would love to get back together with his girlfriend Nina (Leslie Grace) who in turn would love to live in a community that understands her. For the others, Vanessa is already a winner. She entered Stanford and has the ability to do something much bigger, much better. His father (Jimmy Smits), meanwhile, just wants to escape the financial burden of running Rosario’s, a taxi service.