Wednesday, February 20, 2008

No Pare! Sigue, Sigue!!!

In the Heights opened last year around this time Off-Broadway. It got pretty rave reviews, and despite not being able to find a strong audience way out in a theatre on 37th and 10th, the producers decided to take it to Broadway, where it started previews on Feb 14th. It opens officially on March 9th.

I saw the production early in it's run Off-Broadway, and instantly fell in love with it. It was exactly the kind of show that I loved. The music was fresh and fun, I laughed and cried, and I felt like a part of a community when I left the show. I urged all my friends to go see it, and even took some friends to see it (mostly so I could see it again myself!)

The show is one of the freshest, coolest things out there right now, and the composer/lyricist, and star of the show, Lin-Manuel Miranda can be considered a major force among young up and coming composers today.

Now, this is the first show that I've seen where I've seen it make the transfer from Off to the Great White Way. So it was exciting for me to see it on Broadway because I heard there were a few changes to the score and book, and of course some costume and set changes.

But what is interesting is, what time will do to the memory of a show.

As I've mentioned before, seeing a show again changes your opinion of it. When I saw Next to Normal a second time, I loved it. Legally Blonde was different for me this time too, and I actually was able to like it more for some reason.

But with this, I had such fond memories of the show, I wonder if it could have lived up to them.

The show follows a group of people in the Upper, Upper West Side neighborhood of Washington Heights. The title In the Heights, takes on different meanings, with the image of flight or being in the sky comes up often and also in referring to the neighborhood name itself.

It uses a mix of Latin beats and melodies, Hip-Hop and Broadway Pop as the basis for the score. Quite simply, this score is one of the best I have heard in a very, very long time. The lyrics are always interesting. Miranda uses rhymes that are simple but come off as unexpected, and often reference other literary or pop culture items. ("You probably never heard my name/Reports of my fame/Are greatly exaggerated")

I think what happened with myself was I hyped it up in my head. It's basically the same show. But I was looking for the same experience on Broadway as I got Off, and it was impossible to get. (For one, sitting in the Mezz of the Richard Rodgers is not the same as the intimate 37ARTS, the theatre where In the Heights played Off-Broadway.) I should have known better then to do this to myself.

I recommended this show like crazy last year, and will continue to do so this year. Despite whatever little dislikes of the show that I have in it's current Broadway incarnation, this show is wonderful, and better then most of the stuff out there! GO!


candrus68 said...

I saw something on TV last night about the show, some Latino Voices thing. I was mad that I wasn't there watching the show with you. You're seeing so much theatre! Without me! :(

Anonymous said...

I saw this show in August of 2008. I was a friend of Andy Blankenbuehler's father and went just because it won rave reviews. I have fallen in love with the show and am totally obsessed with it. The show is very well written and great for all ages. The downfall is that there is a lot of Spanish and rapping but can be followed easily with some concentration. It is a great story full of hopes and dreams. Well after I had left I was stilling humming the toons in my head. I would suggest that everyone see the show!