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Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather watch Jon Chu’s film adaptation of In The Heights, with songs by Lin Manuel Miranda. They go in a number of directions, but they more or less add up to the strangeness of the experience of watching this work from 2005, with its particular concerns, in 2021.
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One detail that didn’t come up, regarding politics and personal priorities, is that In the Heights partially dates to 1999, while Miranda was in college. While he built a team and further developed it for a couple of years after he graduated, but it’s still a story from a twenty-year-old at an elite college. So, like Hamilton reeks of the we’re-post-racial, see-no-evil hopes around the Obama administration, much of New York ignored the resemblance between “broken windows policing” and stop-and-frisk, with Giuliani still largely thought of as the avuncular guy who made Manhattan more tourist-friendly. Worries about “the border” were a fringe issue that rarely came up, too.
And Miranda was a huge fan of Rent (the show; I don’t think anybody has asked him about the financial transaction), which explains the references, and maybe some of the other awkward oversights in the story like being “poor” while simultaneously having enough money when it matters. I guess just be glad that Usnavi doesn’t want to write the greatest song in the world that happens to be the weakest in the show…