BWW Interviews: Janet Dacal Talks IN THE HEIGHTS in Miami, the February Reunion Concert & More!

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As BroadwayWorld previously announced, Broadway actress Janet Dacal flew out to Florida to star last-minute in Actors' Playhouse's production of In the Heights after the lead Sarah Amengual was taken ill. Dacal originated the role of 'Carla' for the off-Broadway and Broadway productions of In the Heights and played 'Nina' in later performances. The actress appeared in Actors' Playhouse's The Last Five Years earlier this season.

Despite her crazy schedule, Dacal was able chat with BroadwayWorld about her return to Miami in the following interview:

It's been a whirlwind week for you! How did this all happen?

It was very last minute. I got a call from the Artistic Director on Friday morning- I was in LA. He basically asked if I'd come in and play Nina. Sarah Amengual, who'd been playing the role, was pretty ill. It was really unexpected and I was a little bit in shock.

After thinking about it for a little bit, I thought 'Sure, why not?!' So I got on a plane that night, a red-eye. I got to the theatre at 7:30, slept a few hours and rehearsed all afternoon. I learned the show on the stage, ran all of the big production numbers that I'm in, and then was curling my hair at 7:30!

It's been a surreal experience. That first night it was like I wasn't present. I was so exhausted and I was trying to stay in the moment and remember where I was supposed to be standing and what I was supposed to be saying. That took all of my energy and focus. And then by Sunday's show it was just so much fun. It's great to do it here in Miami and to revisit the role.

Have you ever stepped into a part so last minute before?

Definitely not a part that I haven't revisited in 3 years! I've understudied several times in the past so I understand what it is to have to go in last minute- but I was in the production. Coming into a new production on a different stage is something unlike I've ever experienced before.

But the information just came flooding back and before I knew it I was like 'Oh yeah! I remember how this goes!' It's like riding a bike almost.

How much longer are you in for Sarah?

I have one performance left tonight. I have lots of friends and family coming in to see it. It will be fun to do it one last time. Who knows if I'll ever get to do Nina Rosario again!

You were at the big reunion concert last month, correct? What was that experience like?

It was amazing. We ended up starting about an hour late because there was a line wrapped around the block for people to get in. So by the time we got on stage there was so much energy. It was the best. It was most of the original cast and the original band. It was almost like a sitzprobe.

People had flags and they were were dancing in the aisles and singing along. You come to realize how much this show has affected people. It's really, really special.

I'm sure most Broadway fans remember your big onstage engagement to your WONDERLAND co-star Darren Ritchie...

The last that the world knows is that Darren and I are engaged, and that is no longer true. We've gone our separate ways- our engagement was actually broken in April of last year, so it's been a while. But I of course wish him all of the happiness in the world.

Do you have any other projects coming up?

A friend of mine, Andy Senor is doing a concert series here in Miami. It's really nice to kinda give back to the community. There are a lot of Broadway people coming down. So it just happens to be that I'm here and he asked me to stay and be a part of that so that will be fun!

And from here I'm going back to LA and doing the whole LA thing indefinitely!

But, until then you've got one final performance of IN THE HEIGHTS!

It's been great to be back for the weekend and to be a part of a show that I love so much! Whoever can come to see it tonight should!

Tickets may be purchased through the box office at 305-444-9293 or online at www.actorsplayhouse.org.



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