Many Australians may have first been introduced to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights for all the wrong reasons.
In 2017, it hit local [and even international] headlines when a Queensland production of the musical was found to have whitewashed the cast of a very non-white story.
If you ever visit New York’s Washington Heights, you’ll find it’s a predominantly Afro-Latino area! Given it’s the hometown of the creator and its culture is so central to the narrative and personal in nature, you might want to get that right!
The local Brisbane show ended up being cancelled and thank goodness for that.
It seems Australia learned its lesson when casting another one of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s works [and arguably his most well known] Hamilton. It’s actually just about to open this week in Sydney. They did a search right throughout both Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand to find as many brown faces as possible to avoid any backlash.
Now in 2021, in the middle of a pandemic, a movie adaptation of In The Heights is scheduled for release in Australia on June 24th, 2021. While the US population is still grappling with the worst of COVID’s destruction largely in part to an incompetent and racist government [which is why its original release date last year got pushed back to June of this year], our audiences will be able to check it out all around the country – knock on wood!
I got to see it on Broadway twice. Once with my school and then again with my Mum so clearly I loved it. I’m looking forward to seeing how they bring the show to life and interested to see what spin Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu puts on it!