Theater is a doorway for new creative voices. We are lucky to now be in the creative era of Lin-Manuel Miranda. Hamilton is a mounting success on Broadway, but tickets are hard to come by. Lucky for us, the Fulton is performing his earlier creation In the Heights.
Written during Lin-Manuel’s sophomore year in college, In the Heights is a beautiful story about love, dreams, and community in New York City. New York is a melting pot for cultures and this is greatly showcased by the variety of characters, music, and dance. It is easy to see why this musical won a Tony for Best Score and Best Musical.
At the center of the story is Usnavi (Diego Klock-Pérez), our narrator and store owner in New York’s Washington Heights, who dreams of returning home to the Dominican Republic. Diego’s portrayal is filled with passion and emotion. He handles Lin-Manuel’s difficult rhymes with ease. I was in awe of his musical abilities.
The other main character is Nina (Mili Diaz). Nina has returned to Washington Heights from her first semester away at college. College was to be her pathway to a better life but it is proving to be more challenging than she expected. Most can relate to her feelings of doubt, and attempts of meeting expectations while struggling with what you truly desire. Mili brings this all to the forefront with her emotional performances throughout the show. I often had goosebumps while she sang.
Guiding them throughout their stories is their Abuela Claudia (Debra Cordona). She is everyone’s Grandmother in Washington Heights, always making sure you are fed and that her lottery ticket is purchased. Debra immediately connects with the audience. You see your Grandmother on stage.
Throughout their stories, you feel an overwhelming amount of love. Even when conflicts arise, you see the love all of the characters have for one another. They have built a family in Washington Heights. No matter what challenges arise, they all help each other through.
In the Heights is an explosive musical filled with love, community, and dancing. If I had the time, I would see it again. It is performing now through April 4th. For tickets and show information visit www.thefulton.org or call the box office at 717-397-7425.