Knit to This: Daphne Rubin-Vega
I was going to sit down and bang out a few lines (not rhymed, I promise) about In the Heights, which I think you should see and which I especially think you should see in a movie theater (if you’re comfortable doing so) because, gosh, the big screen is really the only way to completely appreciate a musical number that features a choreographed wall of sentient wigs. I’m pretty sure that’s a rule handed down by Orson Welles himself.
But during the movie, I noticed that I was looking around the edges in almost every scene for the great Daphne Rubin-Vega (who has a medium-sized part as Daniela). Suddenly I remembered the wonderful 2018–19 podcast The Horror of Dolores Roach, which stars (there’s no other word for it; it belongs to her) Rubin-Vega as the titular Dolores and which I would much rather tell you about because look: In the Heights has an “official coffee” (it’s Cafe Bustelo and it’s DELICIOUS!) and honestly I don’t think that movie needs my promotional help.
Spanning two seasons so far, The Horror of Dolores Roach is loosely modeled on Sweeney Todd, set (like In the Heights) in Washington Heights, and the more you know about the plot of Sweeney Todd, the cleverer I suspect you’ll find the retelling.
But you don’t need to know anything at all to dive in; it might actually be more genuinely suspenseful (and like the title promises, horror-y) the less you go in knowing. You can sign up for the horror or the politics—it’s got a pretty wide anti-gentrification streak running through it.
It’s apparently now being developed as an Amazon series, so here’s your chance to be an insufferable early-adopter hipster and sneer things like “I liked it so much more before there were … pictures.”
Slight trigger warning: in addition to being a little spooky, there are a lot of sounds of food being eaten. I was surprised by how many friends said, “Thanks but no thanks” after a single episode. The murdering was apparently no problem. The sound of an empanada being eaten, though … dealbreaker. SHRUG EMOJI!