Saturday, 1 November 2014

In the Heights

Back in the summer of 2014 the small intimate theatre, Southwark Playhouse, played host to Lin-Manuel Miranda's lively Latin fiesta, In the Heights. Although this show is long gone, having finished its run June 7th, it still deserves some recognition as I would be more than happy to see it have a long term return to the West End. Over the last year there have been rumors implying that In the Heights could hit the silver screen but latest updates suggest project has been abandoned. Personally I would love to see that idea rekindled. 

In the Heights focuses on the largely Latino Barrio of Washington Heights in New York City. The show opens on Usnavi, the local shop owner struggling to keep his business afloat with a horrendous heatwave and a broken fridge. Usnavi has his eye on Vanessa, who currently works in the hair salon, with local gossips Daniella and Carla, but dreams of moving out of the barrio and onto greater things. 

The community cab company is owned by a Puerto Rican immigrant, who came to America with nothing. He will do anything to support his family, especially his daughter Nina who has gone to College. Nina comes home for a visit and sparks begin to fly with cab worker Benny. Every tight knit community needs a loving abuela (grandmother) Claudia, the old lady who lives in the Barrio and treats all the other residents as family. 

In a small community with huge dreams, the residents start to wonder how their problems might be solved if they win the $96,000 lottery... 

Lin-Manuel Miranda shows great strengths in his Hip-Hop and Rap skills in songs such as the title song, In the Heights and in 96,000. Songs like Paciencia y Fe (Patience and Faith), The Club and Carnaval del Barrio provide the feisty Latin rhythm that will have you looking up your local salsa club. 

Indeed, if you are like me and can't resist a Latin beat, I recommend finding any YouTube video from this show as Drew McOnie's choreography is absolutely outstanding.

As such an up-beat musical, it would be amazing to see it return to the London stage.  

Check out the trailer from the Broadway show!

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