Lin-Manuel Miranda, holding microphone during the premiere of "200 Cartas," has selected six classic New York City films that he will introduce at the United Palace.
Last year after the triumphant performance of the five-year anniversary concert of "In the Heights" at the Palace in February, I sat down with the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
I've known Lin for years, having worked on his father's paper, the Manhattan Times, when Lin would pen the occasional column in between drafts of what would become his Tony Award-winning musical about Northern Manhattan.
Since "Heights" became a hit and made Lin a star he's had a crowded schedule, with appearances on top-rated TV shows like "Modern Family," headlining movie roles like "200 Cartas," writing gigs such as the Broadway show "Bring It On" and the opening number for the Tony Awards, and the creation of a new show, "The Hamilton Mix Tape," which he has already previewed in a private performance for President Obama. Heck, Lin has been so hot that even his wedding video went viral on the Internet.
When I sat down for brunch with him at Indian Road Café last year it was to offer him another star turn on the Palace stage. If you could do anything at the Palace, I said, showcase any of your talents, what would you most like to do?
Show movies, he replied. Classics, cult films, and Latino films.
With that began the campaign to Return Film to the Palace for the first time in over 40 years. Several months later, with the help of hundreds of contributors, we raised close to $50,000 to make it happen.
This Sunday, January 12, UPCA kicks off its new series "Sunday Movies at the Palace with Lin-Manuel Miranda" with a screening of the beloved children's classic "The Muppets Take Manhattan."It's the first of six classic New York City films selected by Miranda that will play monthly through June.
In keeping with our goal to always make these cinematic events rather than just a night at the movies, Lin will recruit special guests to help him present each film. For "The Muppets" he's tapped the Broadway actor/writer/director Lonny Price, who played the producer Ronnie Crawford in the movie, and the Broadway actor/writer/director/Muppeteer and Tony nominee for "Avenue Q" John Tartaglia.
Following "The Muppets" the next five movies will be:
● Feb. 23, "West Side Story" 1961, 152 min
● Mar. 23, "Ghostbusters" 1984, 105 min (New Date)
● Apr. 27, "King Kong" 1933, 100 min
● May 18, "The Warriors" 1979, 92 min
● June 22, "Manhattan" 1979, 96 min (New Date)
"The United Palace Theater is the best-kept secret in New York," Lin said. "We have this GORGEOUS, ornate theater in the heart of Washington Heights, the land I love. So I picked six movies that also embody and define the secret New York in our hearts."
Doors open for "The Muppets Take Manhattan" at 3pm with the stage show starting at 3:30pm. The movie will start at 4pm. Tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door. Children under 12 are only $5. All movies will be projected from Blu Ray disks in English with Spanish subtitles.
In keeping with a tradition started when we screened "Casablanca" in November, guests wearing tuxedos or gowns will get a free bag of popcorn.
The last movie theatre in Washington Heights closed in 2011. It has been a dream of many local residents to once again be able to go to the movies in the neighborhood. We are very pleased to be teaming up with Lin to fulfill those dreams.
Discount tickets for "The Muppets Take Manhattan" are available online or can be purchased at the box office the day of the show. Tickets for the upcoming films will go on sale online in the coming weeks.