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Ukee Washington reports.
--surrounding the musical, but what you may not have heard is that one of the creators of the project is a Philly girl. The story is set over the course of three days, and Quiara Alegria Hudes was very excited to tell that story to Ukee. Take a look.
QUIARA ALEGRIA HUDES: Seeing your face, I feel like I've come home.
UKEE WASHINGTON: Oh!
QUIARA ALEGRIA HUDES: Hearing your voice!
UKEE WASHINGTON: It's the voice of this baby girl from 49th and Baltimore in West Philadelphia that's being heard around the world now. Her story is magical.
- Once upon a time--
UKEE WASHINGTON: Knocked out by the pandemic, the film was originally scheduled to debut a year ago. It's based on a Broadway musical that starred Lin-Manuel Miranda. He has a small role in this, but he plays a huge part in the production. The Broadway show was developed from the book Quiara wrote, a book about a borough of New York called Washington Heights.
QUIARA ALEGRIA HUDES: We're just so desperate for community, for connection right now. I think that the movie because it is about gathering on the corner, gathering in the salon, gathering at the club, gathering in abuela's living room. I do think it's going to be like a little battery pack of joy, and love, and celebration that we all need.
UKEE WASHINGTON: Take it from me, it will have your head bopping. Even the puppeteers were feeling the groove.
- Let's go!
- Let's show them who we are.
- Today's all we got, so we can not. This is our block.
UKEE WASHINGTON: Back on the block in Philly was where this graduate of Central High saw her love of the arts and writing take shape. So did her love of humanity.
QUIARA ALEGRIA HUDES: On my block in West Philly growing up, it was a historically Black neighborhood, historically immigrant starter home neighborhood. That included my family and the one other Latino family. There was also Ethiopians, Cambodians, Vietnamese. These were my friends I played with. So the world was at my doorstep when I was a child, and I try to engage the world in that same way in my stories.
UKEE WASHINGTON: Her stories are making a big splash, and filmmakers are hoping this project will do the same thing.
QUIARA ALEGRIA HUDES: This is the story of people from all over Latin America, from the Caribbean who are our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers. These are our dreams, our shortcomings, our accomplishments, our love, and our losses.
UKEE WASHINGTON: A huge gain to have veteran director Jon M Chu calling the shots.
QUIARA ALEGRIA HUDES: He has this huge Hollywood visual style. He really knows how to capture dance on screen. But when he came to us, he was also saying, hey, there's a side of me that's just about the people. I'm interested in stories of real human beings, so let's get both.
UKEE WASHINGTON: The choreography and dance scenes are shall we say "off the wall" and breathtaking.
QUIARA ALEGRIA HUDES: We dreamed big in terms of what we were going to visualize.
UKEE WASHINGTON: And now it's your turn to see the film, the dream of this West Philadelphia native become a global, energetic reality.
- We're taking the fight so a couple of days of life for what is right in Washington Heights.