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You'll be dancing in the aisles with In the Heights

Last Reel Mondays screening of 2021 is a real crowd pleaser.
0812 heights review sh CC
In the Heights is everything that you want in a modern Manhattan musical and more. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, West Side Story. WARNER BROS/Supplied


In the Heights

Stars: 4.5

Starring Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, and Jimmy Smits

Written by Quiara Alegría Hudes

Directed by Jon M. Chu

Rated PG for coarse language, substance use, and sexual situations

Playing at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13 at the Arden Theatre as part of Reel Mondays.

*Please visit the Arden Theatre's website to prepare yourself for COVID-19 protocols:

A season pass is $50, or you can purchase your tickets for $15 each (plus Eventbrite fees). All proceeds benefit STARFest – St. Albert Readers’ Festival.

Visit for more information.

Contact [email protected] or visit the library's customer service desk if you need assistance with purchasing your tickets, or if you have other questions. As this is a Friends fundraiser, there will be no refunds for unused tickets. Tickets can be purchased online until just before the movie begins, but will not be available in person at the door before the movie.

Reel Mondays 2021 caps off its season with a triumphant musical blockbuster that will take you right out of suburban St. Albert in winter and land you smack dab on the hot streets of Manhattan. In the Heights started as a stage production before its cinematic version appeared. This critic can't imagine either viewing without a lot of dancing in the aisles. That's fair warning to all you who see this screening at the Arden Theatre.

It's a soap opera story of sorts, not much different from something like Coronation Street, except of course for all the singing, dancing, and people of Latin American descent. Our central character is Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) who runs a bodega — a corner store, for those of you who don't speak español. A bodega is a great location for the action: lots of people coming and going so we get easy introductions to the whole neighbourhood. Everyone who comes in the store has a story to tell and a song to sing.

If you aren't familiar with the lyrics of Lin-Manuel Miranda, he's practically the contemporary Stephen Sondheim with a Latino flair. I suspect the incredible songwriting with its vibrant everyday language set to corn-popping music would have a strong appeal to the slam poetry crowd as well.

Frankly, I've never seen — or heard — anything like it. It deserves all of the audiences it gets. It's the audience-pleaser Reel Mondays deserves for the last screening of its fall season, too.

Winter 2022 season announced

As one season winds down, another starts to turn its cinematic crank. The Friends of the St. Albert Public Library just announced the new lineup of four films to ring in the new year and just in time for people to buy season passes as holiday gifts.

Looking ahead to 2022, Reel Mondays is set to present Edge of the World (Jan. 24), 12 Mighty Orphans (Feb. 14), Ride the Eagle (March 21), and Just Mercy (April 4).

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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