The power of the Hamilton juggernaut continues.
At long last, and after some false start efforts that fell apart, Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s debut Broadway hit musical In The Heights – which won 4 Tony Awards in 2008 (of the 13 it was nominated for), including Best Musical – will make it to the big screen. This comes on the heels of Miranda’s current Broadway phenomenon Hamilton being nominated for a Tony record 16 nominations.
The closest movie near-miss for In The Heights was in 2011. Universal Studios was moving forward with an adaptation directed by Kenny Ortega (a director/choreographer best known for his High School Musical movies and work with Michael Jackson), but when the budget reached $36 million (a seemingly modest figure, especially for a show that had enjoyed big success and was targeted at the growing Hispanic audience), Universal pulled the plug.
This latest version will be produced by The Weinstein Company. Their target budget is $15 million. Miranda will produce along with Scott Sanders (Evita) and Mara Jacobs. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes, who wrote the book for the original stage show, will also adapt the screenplay. No other talent has been announced, for either in front of or behind the camera.
A Broadway sensation, with songs written by Miranda (who also starred in the lead), In The Heights tells the story of Unsavi, a young man who struggles with the possibility of needing to close his bodega shop in NYC’s Washington Heights and return to his native Dominican Republic. It’s an inspiring, vibrant American Immigrant tale (I had the pleasure to see it on Broadway; best show of five I saw that week, loved it), energized by Miranda’s now patented mix of hip-hop and showtunes.