Entertainment

Watching Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Genius Bring ‘In The Heights’ To Broadway Is So Inspiring

Credit: Great Performances | PBS/ YouTube

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.


[H/T] NBC

READ: Here’s What Lin-Manuel Miranda And Quiara Hudes Have To Say About ‘In The Heights’ Being Produced By The Weinstein Company


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J Balvin Opens Up About Concert Nerves And Social Responsibility In New Trailer For ‘The Boy From Medellín’

Entertainment

J Balvin Opens Up About Concert Nerves And Social Responsibility In New Trailer For ‘The Boy From Medellín’

We’ve been waiting for what seems like an eternity since the project was first announced, but we’re finally getting a first look at the upcoming J Balvin documentary, The Boy From Medellín.

J Balvin is arguably one of the world’s biggest stars and so many of his fans have been dying to get a look behind the scenes and into the life of the Colombian superstar. And following the release of the trailer, we won’t have to wait much longer to get the full film.

The Boy From Medellín is almost here and we’re finally getting a sneak peek!

Colombian superstar J Balvin has released the trailer for his upcoming documentary set to debut on Amazon Prime on May 7. The documentary follows J Balvin throughout the week leading up to a massive homecoming show at the Estadio Atanasio Girardot in Medellín, Colombia, in December 2019. 

But what should have been a time of unadulterated joy for the performer becomes something much more complex.

The film is from Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman (Cartel LandCity of GhostsA Private War), and is is an intimate portrait of J Balvin.

The film shows the real life drama and tumult leading up to one of Balvin’s biggest performances of his life.

Shot entirely in the dramatic week leading up to the concert, The Boy from Medellín offers unprecedented access to “Reggaeton’s Global Ambassador” as he returns to the city of his childhood and struggles to reconcile his personal identity as José Álvaro Osorio Balvín with his celebrity persona.

As the pressure of the approaching concert heightens, he also continues to wrestle with the anxiety and depression that has plagued him for years. At the same time, Colombia itself is in the grips of widespread political upheaval, with thousands of protesters taking to the streets in demonstrations against right-wing president Iván Duque.

Despite his desire to focus on “giving light to the world,” Balvin soon finds himself pressured on social media to take a stand. As the concert grows ever closer and tensions mount around him on all sides, Balvin soon begins to reconsider his responsibilities to his community and redefines his voice as an artist.

Watch the full trailer below:

Watch The Boy From Medellín on Amazon Prime Video May 7th.

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The Rita Moreno Documentary, ‘Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It’ Will Cover the Icon’s 70-Year Career

Entertainment

The Rita Moreno Documentary, ‘Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It’ Will Cover the Icon’s 70-Year Career

Courtesy of MGM

The documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It”, will hit theaters on June 18th. As you can probably guess, the film focuses on the indomitable EGOT-winning icon Boricua.

Director, fellow Boricua Mariem Pérez Riera, says the movie will offer a stripped-down, intimate portrait of the real Rita Moreno.

“We always knew that we wanted this documentary to not be just a showreel of her career and how great she is,” Pérez Riera told NBC News.

“When I make or watch a documentary, I want to be able to know that person more than just what I already know, so it was very important for me to go deeper and to understand her as a human being.”

Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Pérez Riera explained that she wanted to make a Rita Moreno documentary because she related to Moreno. Especially to Moreno’s struggles with discrimination and insecurity.

“I related to all she was saying, her stories about discrimination, the insecurities she felt because of the way others perceived her, the complicated love relationships, and the constant need to work three times harder to prove to others that she is worthy,” said Pérez Riera.

Much of the Rita Moreno documentary focuses on Moreno’s struggle against a racist and sexist industry. Hollywood repeatedly pigeonholed and underestimated her.

At the start of her career, Moreno was only cast in roles of ambiguously brown characters. She played Native American, Filipino, Hawaiian, and Thai roles.

“I wanted to turn the parts down, but that’s all that was offered and I had to make a living,” Moreno reveals in the film. “I was kind of stuck.”

The Rita Moreno documentary also features dozens of interviews of Moreno’s friends, fans, and previous co-workers. The list includes Morgan Freeman, Gloria Estefan, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and her “West Side Story” co-star, George Chakiris. Many of them reflect on the impact Moreno made on Hollywood.

Although Moreno has always been proud of her Puerto Rican heritage, she struggled with her sense of self-worth in Hollywood.

“When I went to Hollywood, I really learned where I stood in the world, and it was so sad and frustrating,” Moreno explained in an interview with the LA Times while promoting the documentary.

“There is something so awful about, if you were a performer, asking your agent to submit you for something and the people won’t even see you because they think you’re too Spanish or something. It’s so frustrating and you want to run and knock their door down and say: ‘Look, let me read this scene for you. I’m good. I’m really good. Let me. Watch me. Listen to me.'”

The documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It” will hit theaters on June 18th. So mark your calendars!

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