KSL’s Fan Effect is joined by Bobby Gibson to discuss ‘In the Heights’

Jun 11, 2021, 4:04 PM | Updated: 4:05 pm
Anthony Ramos stars as Usnavi in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway hit-turned-film "In the Heights." No...
Anthony Ramos stars as Usnavi in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway hit-turned-film "In the Heights." Now in theaters and on HBO Max on June 10. (Photo: Macall Polay, Warner Bros. Pictures)
(Photo: Macall Polay, Warner Bros. Pictures)

SALT LAKE CITY — In the Heights,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre- “Hamilton” award-winning Broadway has finally been adapted into a stunning film.

The film is available at the movies and on HBO Max. The promising musical is hoping to entertain the masses and draw audiences back to the big screen this summer. 

After a year of delay, KSL Podcasts’ Fan Effect hosts Andy Farnsworth and KellieAnn Halvorsen were finally able to discuss the musical in a new episode of the podcast out now.

They are joined by Hale Center Theatre’s Projection Designer & Content Creator, Bobby Gibson. Gibson co-hosts the Youtube channel “We Are Here, Broadway” with his wife, who together they have seen over 100 Broadway shows. Gibson himself has seen the staged version of “In the Heights” 16 times already, including twice with Lin-Manuel Miranda in the lead role. 

Hosts and guest discuss whether the film will entice audiences familiar with the stage musical as well as general moviegoers as they deep dive into the colorful neighborhood of, “In the Heights.”

 “In the Heights” Overview

The movie is about a diverse cast of characters living in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights. Our lead protagonist, narrator, and bodega owner, Usnavi, weaves the story of his own little-big dreams throughout the tales of those of his close-knit neighborhood.

‘In the Heights,’ change is afoot as the mostly Latino community fights the heat of summer and the rising costs of living as gentrification tears at the seams of these American dreamers’ lives.

Stories of family drama, legal troubles, and the struggle for cultural identity in a changing world, mix amid stories of love, community, kindness, and triumph.

While many of the songs are shuffled and slightly changed from the musical version, movie magic makes way for different and often deeper dives into the characters’ lives through the use of cinematography shots and cuts, whimsical special effects tricks, and close-up monologues.

The show culminates with a moving message about the power of finding the dream and belonging of home.

Podcast Highlights

Anytime you change the medium in communications, you alter the message. “In the Heights” is a fantastic example of how you can stay true to the heart of the message of the original story while incorporating current topics, expanding characters, and celebrating the original.

  • Movie magic allows for a whimsical mix of effects that add to the original story and would not be available on the stage. 
  • Moments between the musical scenes allowed for deeper dives into characters’ backgrounds, touching monologues, and expanding upon the original’s message. 
    • “You’re always a little nervous when a show or a book or something that you love gets turned into a film. And I think there’s a lot of really beautiful themes, just kind of reminding us what it means and to think about the things, that we do have to be thankful for. But this message of home and whatever home is for you, whether you’re kind of walking away or finding a new home or whether you’re coming back to it and discovering it again, or fighting for a chance just to keep [your] current one. It’s beautiful.”- Bobby Gibson.
  • While most fans of the musical genre will be enchanted by this version of the story, some audiences outside of the theater scene might struggle with the fast-paced music, and others with the amount of Spanish mixed into the dialogue. 
    • If you are nervous about this barrier, familiarize yourself with the show before viewing it.
    • “I can’t convince somebody to see a musical that doesn’t like musicals. But I will say this, if you go, it’s got some real toe-tapping numbers. It’s got a great rhythm and feel to it. And, and it’s gorgeous.” Andy Farnsworth.
  • The celebration of the Latinx culture is vibrant, beautiful, and positive. 
  • They avoid leaning so hard into politics that it is uncomfortable. The film handles these stories in a personal way without being preachy. 
  • We get a few easter eggs from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s other works. 
    • Miranda and another Broadway cast original take on different and iconic roles for this film. (Do not leave the theaters until after the credits roll!)
    • Listen close for a special “Hamilton” reference. 
  • If you know the show, it might be hard for you to keep yourself from singing in the theatre. 
    • Host KellieAnn might break into songs throughout the podcast.


Listen to the full Fan Effect Episode


Beyond Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Gaming and Tech, the brains behind Fan Effect are connoisseurs of categories surpassing the nerdy. Brilliant opinions and commentary on all things geek, but surprising knowledge and witty arguments over pop culture, Star Trek, MARVEL vs DC, and a wide range of movies, TV shows, and more. Formerly known as SLC Fanboys, the show is hosted by Andy Farnsworth and KellieAnn Halvorsen, who are joined by guest-experts. Based in the beautiful beehive state, Fan Effect celebrates Utah’s unique fan-culture as it has been declared The Nerdiest State in America by TIME.   

Listen regularly on your favorite platform, at kslnewsradio.com, or on the KSL App. Join the conversation on Facebook @FanEffectShow, Instagram @FanEffectShow, and Twitter @FanEffectShowFan Effect is sponsored by Megaplex Theatres, Utah’s premiere movie entertainment company. 



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KSL’s Fan Effect is joined by Bobby Gibson to discuss ‘In the Heights’