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How to plan an ‘In The Heights’ watch party

June 8, 2021 by TodayTix
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Lights are definitely up on Washington Heights, as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning Broadway musical In The Heights heads to the silver screen. In The Heights follows Usnavi, a bodega owner who dreams of going back to his Puerto Rican roots, and the movie promises to be a sizzling summer hit. The movie musical is littered with Broadway stars too: Anthony Ramos, Christopher Jackson, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and more.

Even though you can watch In The Heights in movie theatres, organizing a musical film watch party makes for a great get together. Whether you’re meeting up for an in-person reunion, or planning a virtual event with friends and family, our tips for an In The Heights watch party that’ll have you feeling like you’re neighbors with Usnavi and co. Get ready for your very own Carnaval del Barrio!

Brush up on your Spanish

In The Heights is set in Washington Heights, following a predominantly Dominican neighborhood throughout their daily lives. Dominicans often speak Spanish as a first language, there’s plenty of Spanish lyrics in the musical. Here’s just a few words to get you started on titles of In The Heights songs. 

“No Me Diga” – You don’t say
“Paciencia y Fe” – Patience and faith
“Siempre” – Forever
“Atención” – Attention
“Alabanza” – Praise

Anthony Ramos

Give your guests a lottery ticket 

Okay, so we can’t guarantee that you’ll ever win the lottery, but it doesn’t hurt to dream. In In The Heights, Usnavi sells a winning lottery ticket worth $96,000. When your guests walk through the door (or arriving in the hangout if you’re organizing a virtual meet), have a scratchcard or lottery ticket ready for each person and see if you can score the jackpot. It’s almost guaranteed you won’t win, but you can still fantasize over what you’d do if you won the lottery together.

Bonus points if any of you actually win the lottery. 


Prep a piragua 

During In The Heights, you’ll meet the piragua guy, a local seller trying to vend his frozen goods against rival ice cream company, Mister Softee. For those not in the know, a piragua is a conical shaved ice dessert that’s covered in sweet syrups, similar to a snow cone. 

So, to make sure your guests have something to keep them refreshed, have a large ice block ready to shave and a variety of toppings. Or, crush a few ice cubes together and improvise by covering the ice in sweet, sticky syrups. Even if it’s not the healthiest option, it’s definitely the coolest, and the most authentic.


Make champagne-based cocktails

Vanessa and Usnavi trade champagne IOUs throughout the show, which is all the inspiration needed to toast the In The Heights film with your own champagne drinks. From mimosas to kir royales, or even champagne-based bellinis and a champagne punch, make sure your glass is topped up to “cheers” at every song. 

You could even plan an In The Heights drinking game when you take a sip every time you spot one of these In The Heights film easter eggs.


Light some sparklers 

During a blackout, Sonny and Graffiti Pete set off fireworks to light up the night sky. We’re hoping you won’t have to create a fireworks display for the same reason, but after the film’s over, why not light a few sparklers for a festive atmosphere and a glowing Instagram feed.

In The Heights
In The Heights (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Watch the ‘In The Heights’ documentary

After you’ve seen the film adaptation of In The Heights, take a trip down memory lane with the original Broadway production. After working on the musical for a decade, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical eventually opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2009, winning best new musical. Watch the In The Heights documentary here.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Become obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda (again) 

You may know Lin-Manuel Miranda from Hamilton, but he’s also the multi-award-winning creator behind In The Heights too. As well as writing music for Bring It On, he’s also worked on Disney films including Mary Poppins Returns and Moana. Find out more about Lin-Manuel Miranda here.