'In the Heights' cast lights up the screen

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "In the Heights" opens in theaters and on streaming Thursday, and many wondrous performers who light up the screen.

Working together on such a vibrant story was a delight.

"It was a dream," said actress Melissa Barrera. "You see so much joy on the screen, behind the scenes, everyone, every day we all felt so lucky to be telling this story."

"We all got to shine in this way that you rarely get a chance to see on screen, especially through the scope of Latinidad, there's a monolithic view of our community so it was just incredible," said Leslie Grace, actress.

Corey Hawkins plays a down-to-earth character, Benny.

"He's just such a root, a solid root in that community, and it's interesting because Benny is not Latinx, he's a brother, but I also know what that experience was," he said. "I lived in the Heights at one point while I was in school. I remember celebrating those shared experiences and the joy and love up there, finding the joy and beauty in our differences."

And it's important to share this slice of Americana with everybody, regardless of cultural background.

"We all are so similar in the way we live life," Grace said. "We struggle, we all come from families that are sometimes dysfunctional, but we find the people that become our chosen family and they lift us up. And when we come together as a community, we are powerful."

"Home is where your biggest, greatest dreams are, and you can take that anywhere," said Hawkins.

"In The Heights" hits theaters and HBO Max on Thursday.
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