Muppets Take the Heights | WSJ

By Richard Morgan

Muppets-United Palace-Washington Heights-Lin-Manuel Miranda

Bryan Franco and Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Photo: Andrew Hinderaker | The Wall Street Journal)

Here’s a pro tip for public speakers: When addressing a crowd of English and Spanish speakers, try speaking Muppet. That’s what Lin-Manuel Miranda did Sunday afternoon when, in his native Washington Heights, his monthly film series had its debut at United Palace Theater, a still-pristine Loews Wonder Theater from 1930.

Mr. Miranda, who won a Tony award for writing and composing “In The Heights,” danced goofily around on stage in a three-piece suit with live piano accompaniment before leading the crowd of roughly 700 in several rounds of “Mahna Mahna.”

The crowd had gathered for 1984’s “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” the first of Mr. Miranda’s New York-centric selections in a series that will feature one movie a month through June at the United Palace of Cultural Arts. The film was shown with Spanish subtitles for fans of Kermit the Frog and René la Rana alike—although an exception was made for the Swedish Chef, who is universally incomprehensible.

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