Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In the Heights

Friday night I met up with my friends Ben and Lyn to enjoy Orem Hale's fabulous production of In The Heights.

If you've never been to Hale in Orem--it's soooo small! And you know I love small theatrical spaces.

When I first saw In The Heights, it was on Broadway. I was in the upper balcony with my friend Mike. We were sitting next to a guy from Toronto. As I squinted to see the people, I liked the show--but I didn't feel a part of the show. Friday night, as Lyn and I danced in our seats, and I watched the cast fill this tiny space with Spanish and English, with dancing that moved through the actors from their toes to their hips, and I felt each actor's specific choices--I fell in love with this show.

I originally planned to go to see my friend Carolyn Crow play Daniela.

Photo Credit Daniel Silva
As expected, she was absolutely wonderful. She was funny, compassionate, and powerful. 

I was surprised to see my friend Marcie Jacobsen in the cast as well!

Her Abuela was magical. She's too young to be anyone's abuela, but I adored her just the same. And pictured to her left is Ben Wille as Usnavi. He was powerful, vulnerable, hilarious, and absolutely inspiring. I'm getting a little vaklempt just thinking about it!

Surprisingly, they cast a white guy as Benny! 

But Keith Evans was wonderful. And in white bread Utah--it's easy to see how white people struggle with class issues as well as any other race. I was impressed and delighted. Xandra Wille as Nina Rosario has a perfect voice. It was such a joy to see and hear her story unfold. 

I'm not going to gush about everyone--but I will comment on Shae Robins' Vanessa. She was perfectly complicated. A strong, sexy, ambitious woman. She made me want to be a latina living in New York--not because of how pretty she is--but because of how powerful she was from the inside. 

And I can't ignore Sonny! Oh Sonny! Elijah Thomas was hilarious. Comic gold is that man. Passive voice am I using. Sigh.  As I google to try to find an image for him, I have discovered that there are a lot of Elijah Thomas's in the world. 

The show is probably sold out. But go if you can get tickets!

Hale Center Theater in Orem, Utah. Visit for tickets. They close Saturday night! 

Big kudos to director Christopher Clark, choreographer Jennifer Hill-Barlow, and musical director Justin Bills. The ensemble was incredible. It was a beautiful night at the theatre! 

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