NEW YORK — The 20th Tribeca Festival kicked off Wednesday with a bang as the stars came out for the red carpet world premiere of “In the Heights,” which took place — where else? — in Washington Heights at the United Palace Theater.

What You Need To Know

  • The stage-to-screen film version of the Tony Award winning musical "In the Heights" has its world premiere in Washington Heights on opening night of the Tribeca Festival

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda walks the red carpet, talks to NY1 outside the United Palace Theater about his love letter to his neighborhood

  • The 20th edition of the Tribeca Festival is the first film festival to have in-person screenings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, will show movies in all five boroughs

Stars from the musical-drama, including New York’s own Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the music and lyrics, talked about the film opening the festival, and their first in-person red carpet since the coronavirus pandemic began.

"It is a dream come true," said Miranda. "I mean, that's a lie — it's seven dreams come true. You write a love letter to your neighborhood, you actually get it to Broadway, you actually get to film it on location in the neighborhood it's about and then you get to premiere it on 175th Street. It's so many dreams come true."

"It means everything," added "In the Heights" star Anthony Ramos. "We're in Washington Heights, the movie's about Washington Heights, we shot it here, the writer's from here. It means the world, and I'm grateful that it looks like Hollywood's taken a turn for the better."

"This is kind of like the culmination, when you get to share it with the world. Especially a movie like this, that feels so timely and so perfect for the world opening back up," said co-star Melissa Barrera. "It's all joy, it's all about community and getting together and family, and dancing on the streets and in sweaty, crowded clubs. And we haven't been able to do that in a year-and-a-half."

"This is the first time that we're going to have a film festival opening in New York with actual audiences, and what a better way," said fellow "In the Heights" star Jimmy Smits. “I think audiences, they want that communal experience.”

Tribeca Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal offered up some historical perspective, saying, "We lived through 9/11, so it was — we had no choice,” Rosenthal said. “That's what we do: we're New Yorkers, we help each other out."


Did you know you can now watch, read and stay informed with NY1 wherever and whenever you want? Get the new Spectrum News app here.