When is In The Heights released in cinemas? Who’s in the cast? What is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical about?

Crazy Rich Asians director John Chu is adapting Lin Manuel Miranda's acclaimed musical with Anthony Ramos as the lead

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Ramos, Getty

Lin Manuel Miranda is most famous for his mega-hit musical Hamilton, but before he re-told the story of America’s founding fathers, he wrote and composed a musical called In The Heights. When he was still in college. The man is a genius.


In The Heights has received multiple accolades, and now, after being off stage for a couple of years, it’s being adapted for the big screen. With an impressive cast and Miranda on board as producer, it’s sure to be a hit when it’s released in 2020. Here is everything we know so far…

When is In The Heights released in cinemas?

The movie adaptation is set to be released in the US on 26th June 2020. No word yet on whether the UK release date will be the same.

Who is in the cast of In The Heights?

The full cast has been released, and it is impressive. Hamilton and A Star Is Born actor Anthony Ramos – who’s played the role of Sonny on stage – will take on lead character Usnavi, with Mexican actress Melissa Barrera as Vanessa and singer Leslie Grace in her first major screen role as Nina Rosario.

The West Wing’s Jimmy Smits will play Nina’s father Kevin, Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) stars as Benny, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Stephanie Beatriz has joined the cast as Carla.

Orange is the New Black‘s Dacha Polanco will play Cuca, with original cast member and Broadway legend, Olga Merediz, reprising her role as Abuela Claudia. Sonny’s father has also been added to the story, played in the film by Marc Anthony.

And Lin Manuel Miranda fans will be pleased to hear that, while he’s not reprising his role as Usnavi, he does have a smaller part as Piragua Guy…

What is In The Heights about?

Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical In The Heights tells the story of the lives of an Hispanic-American community of the Washington Heights neighbourhood in New York City.

The tale unfolds over the course of three days and explores the dreams, struggles and relationships of a close-knit group of characters with financial worries threaded throughout their various storylines. It is played out with a soundtrack featuring salsa, hip-hop and soul.

Who wrote In The Heights?

Lin Manuel Miranda is the musical’s writer, lyricist and composer. However, the film’s screenplay has been written by Quiara Alegría Hudes – the author of the novel that the musical is based on. The film’s director is Jon M Chu, best known for overseeing box office hit Crazy Rich Asians.

Was In The Heights successful?

The musical premiered in 2005 in Connecticut before moving to Broadway, where it ran from 2008 -2011. It then hit London where it ran at Southwark Playhouse and then King’s Cross Theatre between 2014 and 2017, and has staged a number of international productions worldwide. During its time on stage both in the US and UK, the musical won three Oliviers, four Tony Awards and a Grammy.

Will the In The Heights film be different from the stage musical?

The movie adaptation is showing early signs of sticking to its roots, filming in the Washington Heights area of New York City where it’s set. Real residents of the area are appearing as extras in the film after a casting call was held prior to filming.

Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes are reworking some of the lyrics, including for Champagne, as revealed in a post on Twitter:

Miranda has confirmed there will be no new numbers – and that the film will aim to keep in as many original songs as possible.

He’s also revealed the story has been updated to be set in the present day, a transition he says was pretty simple:

“Immigration was an issue in 2008. But when I think of Sonny’s lyric — you know ‘Politicians be hating / Racism in this nation has gone from latent to blatant.’ It’s more true in 2019, than it was in 2008,” he told Remezcla.


Is there a trailer for In The Heights?

With the movie filmed in summer 2019, there is no trailer as of yet but once footage emerges we’ll be sure to pop it in here. For now, here’s a look at some of Miranda and the cast’s many social media posts…