At LaGuardia Community College, Visiting Fulbright Scholar Steven Gilbers discusses African-American English through the comparison of East Coast and West Coast hip-hop. In a classroom filled with students and professors, Mr. Gilbers proceeds to break down hip-hop culture and the importance of authenticity in the hip-hop community. “Another crucial part of hip-hop culture is this […]
“No pare. Sigue, sigue!” This is a phrase that is used throughout different songs in the musical and it seemed as if no one in the audience, just like it said in the songs, wanted the production of “In the Heights” to come to an end. Looking around The LaGuardia Arts Performing Center’s main theater, it came to my attention that everyone couldn’t help but wiggle in their seats to the joyous beats of the Hispanic culture. The show, filled with an enthusiastic and vibrant cast, was definitely a performance that would have the creator of the original musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda, like a proud father watching his kids of different cultures unite and put on a brilliant performance.
“In the Heights” is the story of a deli owner named Usnavi de la Vega, played by Julio Trinidad, who lives in Washington Heights but dreams about returning to the Dominican Republic. Usnavi is accompanied by the ladies of Daniela’s Salon, the owners and workers of Rosario’s Car Service and, of course, the exuberantly full of life people that live within the perimeters of the Washington Heights block. Each character has a story to tell, whether it be Vanessa, played by the very talented Aliayh Murchison, wanting to make it out of “El Barrio” or Kevin Rosario, played by Brian Rodriguez, who wants to be a different man than his father before him. Rodriguez’s rendition of the song “Inutil” was definitely a powerful one and was sure to make you believe the character’s sorrow.
The moves and singing of the ensemble went on to amuse and entertain the audience as each scene would end and another one would commence. The real show-stopper in the musical would have to be the magical voice of Miranda Luzon otherwise known as Nina Rosario, a freshman at Stanford University who came back to “El Barrio” to break some difficult news to her family and friends. Luzon’s voice is the epitome of what you would look for if you were casting a play on Broadway or looking for someone to voice a Disney Princess.
The orchestra, conducted by Professor Lisa DeSpain, was a delight to listen to as the platform to the astonishing voices of the cast and dance moves of the ensemble.
The LaGuardia Arts Performing Center’s production of “In the Heights” was definitely a show worth seeing ten times over. It was clear to everyone in the theater that the cast was overly excited to be part of the production and their positive energy bounced off the stage and into our hearts. Even as Graffiti Pete, played by Miguel Cruz, used a little too much arm strength to bring down the awning over which he painted a beautiful mural to pay tribute to the late Abuela Claudia, played by Jaqueline Rosa, and ripped it, he recovered graciously and like a true actor made you wonder if that was actually part of the show.
Congratulations to the cast and crew, especially to the director, Stefanie Sertich, for an amazing production of “In the Heights”!