And what a celebration it was. The festivities took place in the United Palace theatre in Washington Heights.
"We deserve to have fun now," Daphne Rubin-Vega, who performs hair salon owner Daniela at the Warner Bros. version of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical of the same name, advised Variety on the yellow rug.
Miranda did not need to travel far for the screening. "It's thrilling. You can listen to the Mister Softee truck as we speak. That usually means the piragua man is not far behind. I'm just so thrilled that this letter to this neighborhood is premiering here."
Even though Wednesday night's affair wasn't technically a premiere, because the movie has been shown at different events and released as sneak screenings in theaters on Mother's Day last month, it was the very first time that the cast and crew reunited since shooting the movie two year past. Its launch was postponed for a year due to COVID.
WarnerMedia Studios CEO Ann Sarnoff exclaimed,"We are here. We have arrived, coming from this dark and into the light. It feels like the timing is ideal. It is an amazing summer picture."
Guests were needed to demonstrate proof of a negative COVID test or a vaccination card while press covering the carpet were granted rapid tests upon arrival. The 3,000-seat theater has been confined to only 450 guests.
On the carpeting, few people wore masks. Hugs, kisses and handshakes were abundant. Corporate sponsorship included gift bags with boxed popcorn emblazoned with the logo of Café Bustelo. Miranda's wife, Vanessa Nadal, even transported a customized Bustelo clutch, which has been auctioned off CharityBuzz for the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. The afternoon following the screening, Cartier sent out a press release announcing that celebrities Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera and Leslie Grace wore accessories in the legendary jewelry house.
"I still can't think that we are here," said Barrera, who plays Vanessa. "I can not believe that we left it. It feels like it past year and Jon was texting all of us to inform us that they were going to postpone the premiere that an entire year...I'm so happy. That is it. I am thrilled."
Marc Anthony, whose role as Gapo was created for the film, informed Variety,"I have witnessed this particular work of art...on Broadway, in several iterations and when Lin called me to invite me, he stated,'Marc, this role is not from the series, but when I wrote something particular would you be curious?' How about a strong,'Yes!' I believe ['In the Heights'] is a very long time coming. For artists that say we're underrepresented in Hollywood and blah blah blah, I'm like,'Stop complaining and whining. Make the art. Write it. Pick up a pen and write it and do it. And be about it.' That is exactly what we're staring at right now. No apologies.