It was exactly a decade ago when Anthony Ramos first saw In The Heights on Broadway.
At the time, Ramos was attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), and students were offered free tickets to Lin Manuel Miranda's award-winning musical.
Initially, Ramos, then 19 years old, wasn't sure about attending.
Watch the official trailer for In The Heights below. Post continues after video.
"I never went to musicals growing up," Ramos told Mamamia over a Zoom call.
"When I went to college for musical theatre, it was because I just love to sing. So I learned as much as I needed to learn to audition for this musical theatre school... and then I just started to love the craft of it," he continued.
"But I very quickly learned in college that there were very few musicals with Latinos in it. And I was like, 'Where do I fit in this equation?'"
After seeing In The Heights on Broadway, however, Ramos was blown away.
"Seeing In The Heights — that was the first time that I watched anything where I was like, 'Oh, wow.' It felt almost like a door had unlocked or someone had said: 'Here’s the key to the future.' [It was] almost like stepping into Narnia or some sh*t. I was like, 'This is another world,'" Ramos shared.
"Seeing all these characters that look familiar and sound familiar to the people that I grew up with and people that I know, from my neighbourhood, was crazy," he continued.
"It ignited this fire in me and gave me this hope. [It gave me] this extra bit of hope that I don’t think I had before for a more inclusive world in musicals and not only in musicals but in Hollywood. It gave me this hope like, 'There is a place for you here.'"
That same year, Ramos auditioned for an ensemble part in a national tour of the musical. But despite performing for Miranda himself in the final round of auditions, he didn't make the cut.