In The Heights star Anthony Ramos says the movie is seeing Good In Every Hood: NPR


Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) runs a corner and dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic in in the heights.

Courtesy of Warner Bros . Pictures

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Courtesy of Warner Bros . Pictures

Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) runs a corner and dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic in in the heights.

Courtesy of Warner Bros . Pictures

The first time he saw actor Anthony Ramos in the heights Lin Manuel MirandaA Broadway production about a Latinx community in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, it was influenced.

“The pulse of this play, I feel like it’s close to me,” he says. “I didn’t feel like watching a musical at all… watching in the heights, that gave me hope, like, Wow, that’s what a Broadway show could be. ”

Now Ramos is starring – singing, dancing and rapping – in a film adaptation of in the highlands. He plays Usnavi, a young man who turns a corner and dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic, which he left when he was eight years old.

Ramos says the neighborhood depicted in the movie reminds him of Bushwick Enterprises, Brooklyn, where he grew up.

“There were moments of shock and things like that,” he says. “But at the end of the day, there were a lot of good things too… I’m grateful we had a movie about a neighborhood like Washington Heights where we see… this diverse representation coming together and celebrating not just the community, but where they come from, celebrating life… There is good in every cover.”

Ramos played a double role as abolitionist John Lorenz and Philip Hamilton in a Broadway production and film version Hamilton. Ramos is now on the new season of HBO in treatment, like Eladio, who has mostly virtual sessions with a therapist played by Uzo Aduba.

Interview highlights

On the feeling represented by the Broadway production of in the heights

I sat and watched this show, and just saw all these characters on stage. …and I felt like watching my cousins ​​and aunts and uncles on stage now, like friends I grew up with. And these people speak the vernacular that is familiar to me. …

I grew up in Bushwick with my mother, two brothers, an older sister and a younger sister, [in a] Predominantly Hispanic neighborhood – Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Mexicans. It was what we call a barrio. She was harsh. But, it’s funny, Washington Heights, the pulse of that neighborhood, the music and the food, the people just screaming out of their windows to someone downstairs or the kids turning on the fire hydrants—there were all these similarities between the neighborhood I grew up in and Washington Heights.

About how a high school drama teacher helped him get a college scholarship

All my applications were withdrawn because I missed the deadline for financial aid forms. And she said, “Hope wasn’t lost”—because I was desperate. I was thinking of going to the Navy. She was like… “You need to audition for this school called AMDA [American Musical and Dramatic Academy]. “… [I said] “Okay, I’ll audition for it.”

entered, [but] I couldn’t stand it. … She said , [apply to] Jerry Seinfeld Scholarship… I said, “Do they know what my grades are?” She said, “Yeah, it’s okay. They still want to meet you.” …

And I’m sitting with this woman…and she just told my story and basically said…”I need a shot. I just need someone who’s going to give me a chance. My grades aren’t…a reflection of who I am. I just need a chance.” We became emotional and she shared things about my life, how I grew up. Then I left and the school was asking me for this crazy loan. I could not stand it, and asked the man to give me another day. … after two hours, [she] He called me and said, “Hey, Anthony, we don’t usually get the scholarship for people with these degrees, but we want to pay for your school for all four years.”

When you catch appendicitis at the right time Hamilton Opened on Broadway

It was between shows. It was a day of two shows. I will never forget it. I was in excruciating pain. I was sitting in my dressing room, and I was like, let me at least try to take a nap or something. I was trying to eat lunch, and couldn’t do it. I was like, OK, let me lie down. The pain was so severe that I had to scream. I just told my theater director, “I can’t do that. I’m so sorry.” I could not. I was in so much pain. …

[My brother and I] He went straight to the hospital. I think it was Mount Sinai. And they’re like, “You’ve got appendicitis, bro…you need surgery.” I literally said, “Can we do this next week?” “No, we have to do that now.” …they took me to that room. They took out the appendix. I was crazy. I was taking all of these medications. …

Then the doctors said, “Yes, you should be off your program for a month.” I’m like, “Brother, if I get off the show for a month, I don’t get paid!” We just got to Broadway, [I’m] smashed! Think about it: You’re going through a life-or-death situation… and the thing I’m thinking is, you, I should pay my rent, brother. … I was supposed to be away from the show for a month, and, you know, we cut it into two weeks. They tweaked the show a bit for me. …then we recorded the cast album. We recorded the cast album shortly after I had my appendectomy, and I had to sit in a chair in the studio between each shot. I would stand up, cut my voice, and then sit on the chair.

About becoming a Calvin Klein lingerie model

I still have to get up some days and be like, man, you’re good enough. You still have those days when you, man, have big ears. My eyes look like this. I only have one strand of hair that does not fall out. … I was very surprised. you like what? Do they have the right person?

This interview was produced and edited by Lauren Krenzel and Kayla Lattimore for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper, and Beth Novey have adapted it for the web.

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