Last week, PBS released an amazing documentary about the making of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning masterpiece “In The Heights.” The documentary catalogs behind-the-scenes moments never before seen by the public. Viewers will get a sneak peek into all aspects of the show. The documentary shows the pre-production process, rehearsals and follows all the way through to the cast lifting Miranda up at the Tony Awards, with his trophy raised to the sky. We get to see the actors meeting each other for the first time, introducing themselves and their characters to great applause from one another.
Interviews featured throughout help shed light on different aspects of the show, like how characters were fine-tuned in rehearsal. In one interview, director Thomas Kail says, “rehearsal is about crafting something, it’s about trying to realize things that have existed in your mind for weeks and months and years.” Kail went on to add “I like to try to find things in the room, but I find things in the room because I was there when the characters were created, because I had something to do with the formation of their DNA.” You can tell that although this was Miranda’s brainchild, that the undertaking of putting on a huge production was the responsibility of many people.
Lin-Manuel Miranda was just a college student when the first inklings of his show started to come to him.
Credit: Great Performances | PBS/ YouTube
After seeing the popular play “Rent,” Miranda said to himself, “Oh you can write a musical about you. About your life.”
Some powerful moments involve seeing young Miranda, with a short awkward haircut, working hard before all the fame.
Credit: Great Performances | PBS/ YouTube
At one point, we hear Miranda talking about the agony and joy of writing a song as we see him bang out notes on a piano. There’s a full pot of coffee placed drinking distance from his face. You get the feeling he drank a lot of it.
The heart of the entire show, Miranda says, is the song “When You’re Home.”
Credit: Great Performances | PBS/ YouTube
In interviews intercut with the performance of the song, Miranda says that the song is an attempt to answers the question: “What does it mean to be Puerto Rican, if you don’t live in Puerto Rico?”
You can see the full hour-long documentary here on PBS’ website.
Update July 7, 2020, 4:00 p.m. PST: People are going after “Hamilton” because of its depiction of Alexander Hamilton, who was a slave owner. In a time when Confederate monuments are falling, some people want to cancel the show because it does elevate the people of the time. Lin-Manuel Miranda does not disagree with them
Lin-Manuel Miranda validated the criticism lodged against “Hamilton.”
There was a lot of criticism recently lodged at the musical. The renewed attention is partly because Disney+is streaming the very successful play during the 4th of July weekend. While Miranda has said the criticisms are valid, he did express the difficulty of creating a play and capturing every moment of the Founding Fathers in one play. There is no arguing that the Founding Fathers were not indeed problematic and owned slaves.
During this time, it is important to have tough conversations about the legacy of this country and what we can do to acknowledge and rectify the issues.
“Hamilton” is an exquisite work of art. The casting sets it apart from other plays that do not try to be as inclusive. Yet, it is very important to remember our history. Some of the people we are taught to celebrate and hold in high esteem are not worthy of that praise. Some are responsible for killing off large amount of native people. Others were involved with the brutal slave trade that created one of the largest diasporas in human history. You can honor the work of a Latino creator and acknowledge the flaws even he admits to.
Original: Families across the nation celebrated their 4th of July weekend watching “Hamilton.” The musical is one of the most celebrated musicals in recent history. Yet, some people have a problem with the musical and its debut on Disney+ has angered some Twitter users.
“Hamilton” is currently streaming on Disney+ and fans are so excited.
The very popular musical is a Broadway sensation. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s play is one of the most celebrated shows in recent history with sold-out shows across the country. The play tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
The play has been celebrated because the actors cast in the production are all actors of color. It took a white story and was filled with people of color showing a side of Hamilton people don’t often address. Miranda admitted that he didn’t know much about Hamilton until reading a biography about the man while on vacation. He felt the story of Hamilton is inherently an immigrant story and deserved to be told with a twist.
#CancelHamilton started trending over the weekend and a quick search shows that most of the tweets are from conservatives.
There is a movement happening right now in the U.S. with people tearing down statues honoring Confederate soldiers and leaders. The Confederacy is the side of the Civil War fighting to preserve slavery and lost the war. The hashtag is filled with people complaining that other Confederate monuments are being torn down, so why not cancel “Hamilton.”
One argument being made against canceling “Hamilton” is that it is fiction. Those for the cancellation of “Hamilton” claim that is should be torn down like Confederate statues. Yet, those against the cancellation claim that the show is a fictitious account and not the same as monuments and statues built to celebrate a legacy steeped in slave ownership.
Some of the people defending the show are pointing to the cast of filled with people of color.
The show made history with its diverse cast offering a glimpse into history through the voices of people of color. This kind of representation gave young people of color a chance to see themselves represented in history. It might only be a play but it is a play that has captivated an audience of Black and brown people who can see people who look like them representing U.S. history.
It has reignited the debate about cancel culture being weaponized and weakened by bad actors.
The cancel culture has come after several celebrities and businesses calling out bad practices. It seems though that every week there is a new attempt to cancel someone or something. Cancel culture has come under fire for cutting people before giving them a chance to learn from their mistakes.
Some people want to cancel cancel culture instead of “Hamilton” and that thought is spreading.
Cancel culture has claimed a lot of people. It started to grow in prominence as social media became more and more popular and far-reaching. What do you think about Cancel Culture?
Walter Mercado was to the Spanish-speaking world, what Miss Cleo was to the English-speaking one. Equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr. Rogers, the legendary Puerto Rican psychic and astrologer captivated the Latin world with his glamorous style, gender-nonconforming persona, and warmhearted cosmic readings. Now, he is poised to reach a new level of fandom with a lovingly crafted documentary about his life and career
Our stars dimmed when we lost the great Walter Mercado last year, but with a new Netflix documentary, we get one more glimpse into the man’s flamboyant life.
It’s finally here: the first trailer for Netflix’s Mucho Mucho Amor.
Each and every day more than 120 million viewers tuned in to watch the extravagant, flamboyant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming artists charm the world with televised horoscopes. He enthralled his viewers with sequined capes, opulent jewelry, and shared a message of love and hope to his devoted viewers. Then, he mysteriously disappeared.
If you’re like countless tías out there, you’ve been wondering about him ever since. That’s where Mucho, Mucho Amor comes in.
Directors Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch spent the last two years of Mercado’s life documenting this icons legacy – when he grabbed with the struggles of aging.
The film also drops hints about Mercado’s financial issues and his hiatus from public life. But it also features magnificent footage from his unforgettable entrance at the opening party for HistoryMiami’s 2019 exhibit “Mucho, Mucho Amor: 50 Years of Walter Mercado.”
It’s an over-the-top moment that celebrates how many in Miami viewed him as royalty as they eagerly awaited his recommended New Year’s Eve rituals each year (customized for each Zodiac sign). It’s safe to say that Mercado captivated people’s attention, and he’ll do it once again with this documentary.
Mercado is often described as the glue that binds migrant communities from all over Latin America.
At its peak, Mercado’s show was watched by more than 120 million viewers from around Latin America. But he was also an actor, dancer, and writer throughout his career. In fact, he starred in several Puerto Rican telenovelas, including Un adiós en el recuerdo (A Farewell to the Memory) and Larga distancia (Long Distance).
In 1970, he started his regular astrology segment on Puerto Rico’s variety show, El Show de las 12. His star continued to grow, and for decades, his astrology prediction shows aired in Puerto Rico, Latin America and the United States.
“We grew up with him,” Lin-Manuel Miranda says in the trailer for Mucho Mucho Amor. “I can’t think of an English language astrologer that would command the attention of millions of households.”
Then, Mercado mysteriously vanished from the public eye. “Maybe he didn’t want to grow old in front of the cameras,” Eugenio Derbez speculates.
He was also an icon for the LGBTQ community, who – especially in the Latino community – needed one so badly.
Although Mercado was unapologetically sexually-ambiguous, many were still preoccupied with the man’s sexuality. He always took the questions and innuendo in stride though, responding with a joke that would get him off the hook with most. But he meant a lot to gay Latinos during an era where they feared coming out much more than today, just merely for existing.
Even though Mercado never publicly addressed his sexuality, he was an inspiration for many LGBTQ kids, including director Kareem Tabsch.
“I’m a queer kid from Miami and the first time I ever saw Walter on television, it was the first time I ever encountered another person who was queer,” Tabsch recalls.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, he added: “I had a simpatico. Seeing him on TV I remember thinking, ‘Huh, there’s something in you that’s like something in me. I see a reflection of me in you, even if I’d never be nearly as fabulous.’ But there was this otherness that I recognized. I felt, ‘If my family loves you just as you are then maybe they could love me as I am too.”
Although before his death he disappeared from public life somewhat unceremoniously, his legacy lives on for millions of Latinos.
Mucho, Mucho Amor does a great job at showing the human-side of Mercado. Yes, he was a beloved television personality, for whom many, he was a literal superhero. But he was also a human, and Netflix’s new documentary will show an entirely new side of the superstar to the world.
Mucho, Mucho Amor debuts on Netflix on July 8.
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