STAGE TUBE: First Look at Perry Young, Matthew J. Harris and More in Highlights of Walnut Street's IN THE HEIGHTS
Walnut Street Theatre opens its landmark 205th season with the groundbreaking 21st century musical IN THE HEIGHTS. Directed by Bruce Lumpkin, with choreography by Michelle Gaudette, this exhilarating musical about chasing your dreams and finding your true home, opens tonight, September 11th, and runs through October 20th on the WST Mainstage. BroadwayWorld has a first look at highlights of the show below!
The 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner, and Philadelphia local, Quiara Alegría Hudes wrote the book for IN THE HEIGHTS. This is not the first time Hudes' work has been produced by the Walnut. In 2010 Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and the first in a trilogy of plays, was produced in the Walnut's Independence Studio on 3. It was the second play in this trilogy, Water by the Spoonful, which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. The third play will be produced later this year in Chicago.
Bruce Lumpkin returns to the Walnut to direct. He has directed numerous Mainstage and Studio 3 productions, including last season's Grease and the highly acclaimed Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, Man of La Mancha, Cabaret, Evita, Grand Hotel, La Vie En Bleu, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. Choreographer Michelle Gaudette will light up the stage with hip, sultry dances complimented by beats provided by Musical Director Douglass G. Lutz. Gaudette has previously choreographed at the Walnut for productions including Grease, Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, State Fair, Man of La Mancha, Carousel and Evita. Musical Director Douglass G. Lutz has guided numerous Mainstage musicals for the past thirteen seasons, most recently Grease, The Music Man, Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Paving the streets of Washington Heights is Set Designer Anna Louizos. Louizos, whose work has earned her three Tony Award nominations, designed the set for the Broadway production, with additional Broadway credits including The Mystery of Edwin Drood, High Fidelity, Avenue Q and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. She is joined by a spectacular team of designers including Lighting Designer Paul Black (The Music Man, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The 39 Steps) and the award-winning Costume Designer Colleen Grady (Grease, Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, Fiddler on the Roof). Rounding up the creative team is Sound Designer, and Walnut new-comer, Ed Chapman.
This tightknit community is full of fresh faces to the Walnut with Perry Young of the National Tour of IN THE HEIGHTS leading the way as Usnavi. Matthew J. Harris will play his younger cousin Sonny and Rayanne Gonzales plays Abuela Claudia, the woman responsible for their upbringing. Usnavi's love interest Vanessa will be played by Gizel Jimenez. Nina will be played by Julia Hunter, with her parents Kevin and Camila played by Danny Bolero and Kimberly S. Fairbanks, respectively. Benny, Usnavi's friend, will be played by Rhett George, Daniela by Donnie Hammond and Carla by Maria Konstantinidis. Ceasar F. Barajas will play Graffiti Pete, and Carlos Lopez will play Piragua Guy.
The residents of Washington Heights are ensemble members Sandy Alvarez, Ceasar F. Barajas, Breanna Bartley, Melanie Cotton, Dean Andre De Luna, Lisa Finegold, Joshua Keith, Carlos Lopez, Gabriella Sorrentino and Michael Anthony Sylvester.
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