Broadway By The Bay Stages IN THE HEIGHTS, Now thru 7/6
In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood - a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It's a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.
Director Jasen Jeffrey says that the importance of community and creating "home" is what makes this story so inspiring and relatable for all audiences. "There are characteristics of this neighborhood that are very inspiring to me - most importantly how the members of the community take care of each other. Their styles may be different - for example, Usnavi does it with a light?hearted demeanor, Daniella delivers her support through some tough love, and Abuela with a completely faithful and open heart. All would do anything for the people in their lives. These traits creates the bonds within the neighborhood that give this community the strength it needs to withstand the many challenges faced by immigrant communities working to create a new "home" away from their native countries. Washington Heights is and has always been melting pot of cultures. It's gone from Jewish to Italian to Irish to Dominican, Cuban, and Puerto Rican. People change, but the story is the same -- dreaming and working for a better life, but still longing for "home". Whether you are trying to find it, trying to get away from it, trying to come back to it, or even trying to figure out what it means for you, home is up to us to define for ourselves."
In addition to winning the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show's creator, won the Tony Award for Best Music and Lyrics, and additional Tony Awards were won for Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations. The original cast recording won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
Music Director Sean Kana says this is one of the more challenging and unique pieces he has come across in musical theatre in quite some time. "In the Heights is the ultimate combination of rhythm and musical flavor. The show not only has intricate and various musical rhythms, but also carries the rhythms and heartbeat of family and life in an urban immigrant community. Heights features a myriad of Latin musical styles including: Merengue, Salsa, Funk/Pop, Reggaetón, Bachata, Hip Hop and more. Each one carries the spirit of its origin, whether that be in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and beyond. Hip Hop is the other major influence in the piece - not just the music but the entire culture which includes spoken word, rap, DJ'ing, breakdancing, and graffiti art. These styles are not featured (and certainly not combined) in your 'typical' Broadway show, but are essential to create the musical and emotional fabric of Heights.
"We begin by hearing the sounds of urban life (car horns, whistles, various radio stations) tuning our ear to the different flavors of music present within the neighborhood, followed by a simple five?stroke clave beat (clave literally means "key"), which acts as the heartbeat of Heights, ever present throughout. Heights takes us through an emotional and musical crescendo to the final lyric - 'HOME'. Both the cast and the musicians have to really embed these Latin rhythms into their bodies so that it is effortless. Everyone is working incredibly hard to do justice to this piece, one another, and to the audience."
Choreographer Nicole Helfer brings the driving score to its feet by melding the multiple musical styles together. She fuses the hard-edged street dynamics of Hip-Hop with the more fluid movements of Contemporary dance, combined with the sensual Latin flair of Salsa - all to reflect the rich diversity of Washington Heights. Helfer says "This choreography accentuates each individual actor's style of movement, bringing their own essence to every move. Each character is very unique and this choreography allows them to shine individually. When they come together in unison, the energy bursts from the stage - it is very powerful."
In The Heights will play the following performance schedule: Friday, June 20 at 8PM, Saturday, June 21 at 8PM, Sunday, June 22 at 2PM, Saturday, June 28 at 2PM, Saturday, June 28 at 8PM, Sunday, June 29 at 2PM, Saturday, July 5 at 8PM, and Sunday, July 6 at 2PM.
Join the theatre 45 minutes before curtain for the performances on Saturday, June 21st and Sunday June 29th for a special Question and Answer Session with Artistic Director Amanda Folena.
Join the theatre after the show on Saturday, June 21 at 8PM for a talkback with Director Jasen Jeffrey, the cast and the creative team.
The creative team includes Jasen Jeffrey (Director), Sean Kana (Music Director), Nicole Helfer (Choreographer), Hans Weichhart (Associate Director), Jerald Enos (Set Designer), Margaret Toomey (Costume Designer), Derek Duarte (Lighting Designer), and Jonathan Hayward (Sound Designer), and Alicia Jeffrey (Production Manager).
Tickets may be purchased in person at the Fox Theatre Box Office located at 2219 Broadway Street in downtown Redwood City, Tuesday through Friday, 10AM to 6PM. The Box Office is open two hours prior to the start of each show, and remains open for 30 minutes following the start of the show. Tickets range from $35 to $55 may be purchased by phone at 650?579?5565 or broadwaybythebay.org.
Broadway By the Bay strives to inspire, educate and engage their community and local talent through the power of musical theatre. Broadway By the Bay was established as San Mateo Community Theatre in 1965. They are the only major musical theatre company between San Francisco and Palo Alto producing large?scale musical productions using local talents. They are committed to producing the highest?quality shows while maintaining accessibility to their community through affordable ticket prices. In their 49?year history they have received numerous awards and countless acclamations, but none as valued and important than the continued patronage by their community. They are the resident musical theatre company of the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Redwood City.