If you believe we are the only ones to be affected by power outages, you couldn’t be more wrong… enter the community who live in New York City’s ‘Barrio’ (a Latin-American quarter) – Washington Heights.
Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, ‘In the Heights’ is an absolutely fabulous musical romp that will appeal to all. It is energetic, modern and the lyrics are extremely clever… based around the dream of escaping from a life of drudgery and scraping to find the next cent. Unity in diversity is encapsulated in this vibrant community.
The concept, music and lyrics for the stage production which premiered in 2005, were ‘dreamed’ up by Lin-Manuel Miranda. It’s a total knock-out transferring the heat of the streets, the sensationally sexy Salsa dancing and the beat through to the audience in the cinema – toe-tapping magic. Rap, hip-hop, drums, Spanish guitar, synchronized water ballet – it’s a packaged Fiesta! There’s no feeling sorry for oneself – you just have to party instead!
In addition, a book has been written by Quiara Alegria Hudes, which delves deeper into the characters .
The dream – sueñito
Usnavi is the main protagonist of the tale as he relates his wish to resurrect his father’s bar on the beach in the Dominican Republic. We follow his life in Washington Heights as the owner of a small grocery store (bodega) which is well-known for its fabulous coffee. Anthony Ramos provides such an animated performance as Usnavi, that one wants to know more… and, as mentioned above, the lyrics are so cleverly interwoven.
I don’t want to give too much away as each and every character adds depth and personality, but I have to make mention of the matriarch – Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz) who is the uniting force in the community. Never having had any children of her own, she takes everyone’s problems to heart and has an ‘open’ home. One cannot help but be drawn into her life as she sings of her Cuban roots and her life in America… not an easy journey at all! The streets are not paved with gold and there’s no easy path to riches!
There is, however, only one draw-back it’s an extremely long extravaganza (2,5 hours), but you are more than getting your money’s worth. An absolute MUST SEE!
Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Barrera, Ariana Greenblatt, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Jimmy Smits, Marc Anthony, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, Olga Merediz, Christopher Jackson
Director: Jon M Chu