Way before Hamilton took the world by storm, essentially becoming one of the most important (and celebrated) musicals in the history of LIFE, there was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s production of In The Heights. While Hamilton has become way more popular than this show, it was because of ITH that Miranda was even able to do Hamilton in the first place. When ITH opened on Broadway in 2007, it won four Tony Awards, including the coveted Best Musical, and was even nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Now… after a successful off-Broadway run, Broadway run, and a popular national tour, In The Heights has found a home at The Kelsey Theatre in collaboration with The Pennington Players.
Opening October 14, 2016 and running through October 23, 2016 at The Kelsey Theatre in West Windsor, New Jersey, In The Heights can potentially be one of the most entertaining two hours of musical theater you’ll see in the area this year.
What makes this show special is the fact that it is such a personal work for Miranda – and the cast and creative team, lead by director Kyrus Keenan Westcott, thrive within the material that has been provided for them
What is the show about…
It’s the hottest day of the year and the characters are going about their daily business. Usnavi, played by Terrence Berry, runs a small grocery store in Washington Heights, New York. Usnavi fantasizes of one day returning to the Dominican Republic, where he was born. In the interim, he passes his time by crushin’ on Vanessa, played by Alexandra Cusumano, who works in the salon across the street but dreams of her own escape – which is getting her own apartment downtown.
On this day, Nina Rosario, played by Tara Keelen has returned from her freshman year at Stanford University. She is the first in her family to go to college. It has not gone as well as she had envisioned, however, and she dreads having to tell her parents Kevin and Camila (Elio Lleo and Jen Rosario-Kent). On top of that, her family doesn’t react well either at the romantic feelings she has developed for non-Hispanic Benny, played by Phil Solomon, who works for Kevin.
Other regulars in the neighborhood include Abuela Claudia (Mimi B. Francis) who is something of a grandmother figure to everyone in the neighborhood; Daniela and Carla (Lorraine Perri and Brittany Rivera) who run the salon Vanessa works at; Piragua Guy (Joe Rodriguez); Graffiti Pete (Jake Van Horn); and Sonny (LaJuan Miller) Usnavi’s little cousin keen on social justice.
These characters are all supported by a hard-working (and very talented) ensemble that bring the show to life from the opening sequence until the final note of act two. The ensemble includes Sasha Saco, Tia Brown, Mariah King, Ashley DiStefano DeAntonio, Kelsey Rivera, Taylor McQueen, Dani Tucci-Juraga, Shan Williams, Donte Wilder, Rob Veith, Ray Alexander, Christian Confalone, and Marshall McGuire.
The show’s music…
The score, complete with plenty of hip-hop and salsa, is full of some of the most memorable, toe-tappin’ tunes you’ll ever hear on the Kelsey stage. From songs such as “Alabanza” after tragedy strikes the neighborhood, to “Carnaval del Barrio”, an epic rockin’ 8-minute dance marathon that involves most of the cast on stage at one time.
The creative team…
In The Heights is presented by The Pennington Players; Produced by Vicki Kaiser and Judi Parrish; Directed by Kyrus Keenan Westcott; Stage Managed by Vicki Kaiser; Asst. Stage Managed by Vianna Fagel; Music Directed by Mike Gilch; Choreographed by Rachel Tovar; Lighting Design by Star McCloud; Sound Design by Nick Mastalesz; Set Design by Bryan Schendlinger; Costume Design by Sally Page; and Properties by Dottie Farina.
Tickets and performances…
In The Heights runs October 14-23, 2016 at The Kelsey Theatre in West Windsor, New Jersey. Tickets for this run are almost sold out, so it is HIGHLY recommended that you purchase your tickets as soon as possible. CLICK HERE FOR TICKET INFORMATION.
After the October 14th performance, join the cast for the In The Heights Opening Night Reception in the lobby of the theater. After the October 23rd performance, join the cast and creative for a special Q&A session.