In the Heights - Amazing New Musical! I'm feeling incredibly indulgent this weekend. My husband and I are having date night on Friday and Saturday and to be perfectly honest, while the kids may be torturing the babysitter, we're having the time of our lives! Last night, we had the chance to go see a brand new musical on Broadway called "In the Heights." The show has been receiving rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times to Time Magazine and critics are saying "In the Heights" could even be the next "Rent." Well, as someone who first saw "Rent" when she was as young as some of the cast members (no I'm not eligible for disability but I'm starting to feel a bit outdated), the theater critics are right on the money and then some.
"In the Heights" was conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda who also wrote the music and lyrics and stars in the lead role as Usnavi, a Washington Heights deli owner who struggles to keep his business afloat as he longs to return to his family's home in the Dominican Republic. Miranda is an incredible talent who has managed to combine traditional musical theater with hip hop and rap and has kept audiences mesmerized with his lyrics, talents and heartfelt performance. You can tell he put his life into the project and he shines throughout.
I'll wax poetic about the other actors in a minute, but what was also nice about our experience was that we got the chance to sit next to a very sweet couple whose great niece, Rosi Lani Fiedelman is a dancer in the play and they were on the edge of their seat waiting to watch her make her Broadway debut and even though I didn't know her, I was cheering right along with them. Incidentally, the dancing is great too and makes you want to enroll in a few salsa classes!
Now why is this show great for moms? Simple - it's a generational musical that shows you how the decisions and dreams you pursue in your life can impact your future. As the characters struggle to forge an identity in a neighborhood on the brink of transition, we watch as each of them confronts a major turning point in their life as they turn to family and friends to help guide and protect them.
The performances from this tight-nit ensemble cast captured every emotion under the sun and had me laughing and shedding tears by the end. Isn't that the measure of a perfect show? From Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz) who has spent her life watching over families and friends living and working on the block, to Daniela, the sharp-tongued hair salon owner played by Andrea Rubin who instantly lit up the stage with her voice and picture perfect comedic timing, to the gorgeous voices of Karen Olivo (Vanessa) and Mandy Gonzalez (Nina) to top notch performances by Christopher Jackson, Robin DeJesus and veteran actors Priscilla Lopez and Carlos Gomez, "In the Heights" is the kind of musical, that you can see over and over again - just like theater-goers did more than a decade ago when "Rent" first debuted on Broadway.
Watching "In the Heights" made me take stock in the decisions I've made in my own life when I graduated high school and had big visions of becoming a writer and one day performing on Broadway. Well, at least one of my dreams is finally being followed at the moment and the other...well, you never do know what the future may bring - but if you follow the message of "In the Heights" it's important you hold onto your dreams as long as you share them with family and friends.
To watch a preview or to order tickets to "In the Heights" Click Here.