In the Heights is a modern musical experience that erupts in vivacious music, energetic choreography, and real human experiences full of humor and heart. The story begins with Usnavi, a hopeful bodega owner and immigrant from the Dominican Republic, who narrates the comings and goings of the people in Washington Heights, a primarily Hispanic-American neighborhood in upper Manhattan.
As more characters are introduced, the atmosphere fills with the raw emotions and experiences of this vibrant city block. We are introduced to Vanessa, Usnavi’s love interest who dreams of fabulous independence away from her alcoholic mother. Abuela Claudia, the neighborhood matriarch with a timeless immigrant history and an unexpected future. Nina Rosario, the golden child of the neighborhood who worked her way up to a scholarship at Stanford, and got out of barrio only to come back under unfortunate circumstance. The rest of the neighborhood comes together to share their stories, their goals, and the tribulations they must face on the
In the heat of the summer, we see so many lives change for better or worse in one tiny corner bodega. This riveting story expands over three days, and we see the characters experience budding romances and wrenching heartbreak. The audience feels the shame of falling short of familial expectations, and making sacrifices to pursue the American Dream. As Abuela Claudia reminisces about her childhood home in Cuba, we feel the warm sun and the sense of longing she feels for a place she may never see again. During a blackout, when the neighborhood feels that those in power have abandoned them, the feisty salon owner Daniela brings the community together with a spontaneous Barrio Carnaval. The depth of love the community feels for one another, and the things they are willing to do for one another, gives perspective for what we all take for granted, and hope for what may come ahead.
I was very excited to see a musical from the renowned composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, and I took my boyfriend, who was somewhat less excited about musicals. We were both blown away by the incredible music and dancing in this performance. But even more so, we were amazed by how much we learned about the experience of a Hispanic immigrant trying to make a living by coming to America. My boyfriend, who has never given much thought to his Hispanic heritage, discovered a feeling of home in the sultry Latin music and the colorful spirit of the immigrant community from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Chile, and so many others. Even though we are both country bumpkins from the rainy PNW, we felt alive and connected to these dynamic characters, and the joys of struggles of their daily lives.
In the Heights is currently playing at the Seattle Repertory Theatre from November 23 – December 30, 2018, at the Bagley Wright Theatre. The music and lyrics are by Lin-Manuel Miranda, from the book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The story was also conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda and directed by May Adrales. Winner of four Tony Awards, 2008: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations. Run-time is approximately 2 hours, 35 minutes with one 20-minute intermission.
*Note, this show contains haze, strobe-like effects, use of e-cigarettes, and mild profanity. Ticket information, as well as information for Accessible performances, can be found here https://www.seattlerep.org/Plays/1819/IH/Synopsis.
November 23 – December 30, 2018 (showtimes vary)
Bagley Wright Theatre
155 Mercer Street
Please click here to purchase tickets.