Students get exclusive early screening of “In the Heights” film adaptation


Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

A scene from the new film adaptation of the award-winning musical “In the Heights.” Some students had the chance to attend an exclusive early screening of the movie.

Laya Neelakandan, Arts & Entertainment Editor

It won’t be long now until the new film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights” officially releases — but some students in the School of Communication got an early look into the world of the four-time Tony Award-winning musical.

The musical follows three characters living in a Latino neighborhood in New York City. The movie adaptation is currently set to release on June 11. Communication students were eligible to sign up for an exclusive Thursday screening hosted by Warner Bros. at CMX in the Old Orchard Shopping Center. With only 45 seats available due to COVID-19 restrictions, many students scrambled to secure a ticket.

“I was excited but also panicked that I wouldn’t be fast enough to get a ticket,” said Communication freshman Amy Reyes-Gomez.

She was one of the lucky students who secured a ticket to the screening. She said within a minute of checking her email, she received confirmation of the news that she would see the movie she had been anticipating since its creation was announced.

Reyes-Gomez said she enjoyed both the movie itself and the experience of sitting in a physical theatre again. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, every “pod” was separated by two seats in every direction to ensure social distancing, she said. Despite that, the excitement in the theatre was palpable.

“There were all these people who were just as excited as I was to watch this movie,” Reyes-Gomez said. “There were a lot of students who are Latinx, so there was that level of connection to the movie that meant a lot to them.”

Weinberg freshman Andres Polanco Molina was already familiar with the musical when he went to sign up for a ticket. Polanco Molina said he found out about the screening through a Northwestern Latinx community group chat. 

The movie adaptation included changes that he did not fully understand, but Polanco Molina said he still enjoyed the experience, especially the theatre venue.

“I’ve never gone into a movie theatre with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling,” he said. “It was really fancy.”

Communication freshman Kamali Lopez Kuno echoed the same sentiments. She said she had woken up to a text from a friend telling her about the email. But when she checked her email to sign up for a ticket, she found that her friend had already signed up for her, so the confirmation was waiting in her inbox.

Lopez Kuno said the theatre did an excellent job in regards to maintaining the health and safety of everyone in the theatre.

“They made sure there was plenty of space between the people you were with and everyone else,” she said. “It definitely felt safe going into the theatre… and I had a really good overall experience.”

She also agreed with Polanco Molina that while the changes made in the film adaptation were surprising to see, she appreciated the intentionality with which those decisions were made.

For Lopez Kuno, “In the Heights” holds a special personal meaning — it was the show that inspired her to pursue theatre.

“‘It was the first show I ever did, so it’s really special to me,” Lopez Kuno said. “If I hadn’t done ‘In the Heights,’ I wouldn’t be here as a theatre major at Northwestern, so I was really excited that I could see the screening.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @laya_neel

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