In the Heights: What?

Noel&Cole
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In the Heights: What?#1
Posted: 4/21/08 at 1:42pm
This weekend I finally saw IN THE HEIGHTS. I was really looking forward to it considering all the positive things I had heard, maybe I heard to many positive things because I found this to be a completely amature night of theatre! Not at all the show it has been built up to be.

People tear apart Young Frankenstien and Cry-Baby this season but praise this? Makes no sense! Yes this was original. That's nice I guess but the story was certainly not fresh or original in content. Or I should say lack of story. There was no stakes. No drama. Nothing was happening. I was bored and waiting for something to happen all through Act 1. I thought Act 2 picked up a bit and I was a little moved by the story surrounding the Abeula character. But this is the most overrated thing of the season! The choreography seemed awesome in the opening number but then continued to be the same thing over and over again. It was a one trick pony. So I ended up being numb to it by the 3rd number. It was the same style and the same moves each song.

The actor were giving it 100% .They are all worthy of attention. Lin Manual Miranda was wonderful BUT I cannot help but feel he should have made his role a supporting character. His characer had very litte to do with the story but was given the most stage time. This was a big part of the reason I think the show seemed to drag. His talent abounds but he would have left a bigger impression as a supporting role. The songs all sounded the same, very generic. Besides the opening number I remember none of these songs. They were totally bland, and sounded like beat box on synthesizer. Just because it used generic copies of a genre of music not usually seen on Broadway does not make them good. Young Frankenstien is attacked for being Producers 2 and Cry-Baby is attacked for being Hairspray 2 well sorry guys but This was a B-grade hispanic version of RENT. They were clearly trying to go for the same thing. It was a noble try but not at all deserving of the praise people seem to lavish upon it. This has no business being the clear winner for the Tony Award. It is no worse than the other shows this season but sorry to say it is no better either. Anyway just had to share my disappointment. Does any body else agree that his show left a little to be desired? Maybe I just went in expecting to much because of what I had heard. but bleh.
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re: In the Heights: What?#2
Posted: 4/21/08 at 1:44pm
No kidding.
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re: In the Heights: What?#2
Posted: 4/21/08 at 1:53pm
LOL.
http://www.beintheheights.com/katnicole1 (Please click and help me win!) I chose, and my world was shaken- So what?
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BroadwayChica
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re: In the Heights: What?#3
Posted: 4/21/08 at 2:04pm
It's almost pointless for me, or any other fan of the show, to come in and state our case. I'm obviously not going to persuade you, and, honestly, when it comes to musical theatre, to each his/her own. You didn't like it, and while I disagree with your reasonings, I'm obviously tainted by my own personal experiences and perceptions, so I see no reason for challenging your post. It's your opinion, and, as much as I disagree, I don't enjoy starting fights with people whose ideas and tastes differ from my own.

I would, however, like to clarify one thing I feel is inaccurate in your post. You describe the music as"generic copies of a genre of music not usually seen on Broadway". You didn't like the songs, that's your opinion. But there is nothing generic about the music, or the different genres it belongs to. As I've said numerous times on this forum, Lin-Manuel is paying tribute to the vast Afro-Caribbean musical stylings. And while to an untrained ear, or someone who doesn't know Latin music (a term I don't enjoy employing, because it's way too generalized), it may *seem* generic, it's actually quite layered, detailed, and, yes, authentic. The music in ITH infuses a vast array of different styles and sounds, from hip-hop, to salsa, to merengue, reggaeton, plena, bachata, pop...not just in general, but specific to the nationalities of each character (Puerto Ricans sing with Puerto Rican melodies, Cubans with Cuban, and so on and so forth). As much as you, or anyone else, may not *like* this music, it is, nonetheless an impressive feat, that showcases Lin-Manuel's ample knowledge of our music. You can actually trace and pinpoint the musical influences that helped shaped and inspire this score. And while I understand that not everyone will appreciate it, it still offends me when it's labeled as "generic" by people who don't know our musical tradition.

I don't mean this as a personal attack, and I hope it doesn't come across that way. I'm very emotionally attached to this show (as I'm sure anyone else would be, as part of a group of people that has been much maligned and misrepresented on the Broadway stage) and cannot pass up the opportunity to defend it.
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re: In the Heights: What?#4
Posted: 4/21/08 at 2:09pm
Yes Chica, we know you like the show--you defend it at any given chance. Give the guy a break, he didn't like the show--let him have his opinions!
"The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous." -Carrie Bradshaw
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re: In the Heights: What?#5
Posted: 4/21/08 at 2:16pm
The poster said she is not trying to personally attack anyone and is agreeing to disagree, for the most part, with the original poster. I think she was trying to bring up a point about Noel&Cole's seemingly inaccurate comment about the music.
"We like to snark around here. Sometimes we actually talk about theater...but we try not to let that get in our way." - dramamama611
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re: In the Heights: What?#6
Posted: 4/21/08 at 3:10pm
That's a shame you didn't like it.
"Everytime you step on that stage it is somebody's first Broadway show and somebody's last Broadway show. Make it count."
Noel&Cole
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re: In the Heights: What?#7
Posted: 4/21/08 at 3:21pm
Although it was not the most wonderful thing ever I am the first to say their are many charming things about it. I recognize there are elements to be savored in this piece BUT I do not think it is any better than most of the other musicals this season. For people who think they will like it, I fully encourage you to see it!

HOWEVER I do not see how so many people think this is the clear cut Tony Winner for Best Musical. It may win it may not, but it is not the clear cut winner or most deserving show. It has pro and cons like most things this season have.
evic
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re: In the Heights: What?#8
Posted: 4/21/08 at 3:52pm
Agree totally with first post- BORING- nada happens and a 6th grader could have written the book.....choreography-eh....energy-yes......best musical?- que lastima!- if it wins
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re: In the Heights: What?#9
Posted: 4/21/08 at 3:53pm
its a wicked show but each to there own, thats what makes us unique
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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re: In the Heights: What?#10
Posted: 4/21/08 at 3:55pm
I thought the show was fantastic. But we all have our own opinions.

Still, it's nice to hear what other people think.
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re: In the Heights: What?#11
Posted: 4/21/08 at 4:12pm
evic, that's exactly right... an elementary schooler has that much depth.
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re: In the Heights: What?#12
Posted: 4/21/08 at 4:35pm
IN THE HEIGHTS, thanks to the Broadway World Board, will turn out to be extremely overrated for many who go see it.

I enjoyed the music and the performers (thought the book was pretty terrible) but it's not the new best thing since the automobile or something. I think it's silly when I hear all of this Tony talk. ITH is certaintly not a shoe-in for best musical.

now if you'd like to make this about politics, we can do that too. I respect Lin Man for giving the hispanic ethnicity a "voice" but it doesn't mean it's the best musical to ever grace the Broadway stage.

the way some of you talk about it, you would think it's the next big watershed musical (ala SHOWBOAT or CABARET)
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Anakela
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re: In the Heights: What?#13
Posted: 4/21/08 at 4:38pm
Sad you didn't like it N&C, but I love Chica's posts about Heights- I swear every time she writes something I learn more about the different kinds of music in the show- so Chica please don't stop 'defending' Heights.

I'm honestly quite obsessed with the choreography in Heights right now- I am not a dancer or anything in the slightest, but there are all of these new little moments (right now it's the hair salon and stage left during "Paciencia y Fe," the use of the ensemble in Blackout, etc.) that I find riveting every time I see the show... versus boring one trick pony choreography is *exactly* what I thought about Young Frankenstein when I saw that. But *shrug* different strokes for different folks and all.
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re: In the Heights: What?#14
Posted: 4/21/08 at 5:06pm
Listen, I've never said that ITH is the greatest musical to ever grace the Broadway stage. I'm not deluded. Of *course* it isn't. It's not even the best musical on right now (my heart will always belong to Sunday in the Park With George as the finest musical I've ever seen). But it *is* a landmark show, in the way it gives voice to the latino people. Just look at the history of the way we've been portrayed in popular media, and especially on Broadway. Of *course* I'm biased, because when you're part of a minority, and you see yourself onstage, and not in a negative light, it's a significant moment. It's significant to the kids who go to the show and see their flags onstage, or listen to the music they grew up with, the people who've helped shaped their lives. Or who grow up watching their neighborhood portrayed as nothing but a violent, dirt ridden slum, to suddenly see it in a different light. A latino wrote a show about latinos. Like it or not, that's a first on Broadway. Lin-Manuel is providing a voice to the ongoing issues of hispanic national discourse in this country. It, at the very least, opens the door for these sorts of discussions. It introduces parts of our culture and music to people who may have been unfamiliar with it. And I only hope more people follow, because we have so much talent to offer, so many more things to say.

It's what John Leguizamo talked about in "Freak", when he recounts how he went to see "A Chorus Line", and saw a Latina onstage who wasn't a whore, or drug dealer. Just a dancer. A normal person. That's how many kids will feel, and have felt, when they see In The Heights. We live in a society that's still full of prejudice and misconceptions, and *any* step forward is a good thing.

But as I've said repeatedly, I'm not challenging people who didn't like the show. We all have unique tastes, and I respect everyone's opinions on the matter. I acknowledge my bias, and only hope to just shed some light on *some* of the aspects of my culture that some people may not know about. And I'm *sure* plenty of latinos would not like this show, because we're all different. I'm just saying that *this* boricua loves it, and I've explained the reasons why.
Noel&Cole
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re: In the Heights: What?#15
Posted: 4/21/08 at 5:15pm
Broadway Chica......Although I did not enjoy the show and think many have built it up I completely respect your opinion and think your reply to my post is a valid and informed one. Your arguements in favor of the show should are the way all people on these boards should reply to one another.

I understand why you feel the way you do about this show and I am glad you found the show to be a personally rewarding experience. And I do think it is nice to have hispanic culture shown in a positive wholesome light because the majority of it is! And that is not represented in stage enough. Not all shows can be all things to all people. But if it was something you enjoyed and meant a lot to you That is compeltely valid.
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re: In the Heights: What?#16
Posted: 4/21/08 at 6:21pm
I have to agree with the poster Noel&Cole. What this show has the best of this season is marketing. It is really good.

The show itself is a RENT rip-off and a really synthetic latin-hip-hop appropriation project.

Lin is so sweet from the stage and I am sure he is the nicest of guys, but he is an actor that went to Weslyan (sp), where he wrote this. This marketing that asks people to believe it came outta the hood is bunk.

If you want to see hip-hop theater check out Danny Hoch.

This is schmaltz as the NY TIMES put it:

Its fundamental deficiencies are also along for the ride, unfortunately. Conceived by Mr. Miranda, with a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, “In the Heights” consists of a series of vignettes that form a vivid but somewhat airbrushed mural of urban life. Directed by Thomas Kail, it is basically a salsa-flavored soap opera, and if there is an equivalent of schmaltz in Spanish, this musical is happily swimming in it.

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re: In the Heights: What?#17
Posted: 4/21/08 at 6:41pm
Cry-Baby is attacked for being Hairspray 2

Huh? Everything I've read said it is nothing like Hairspray, which is part of its problem.
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re: In the Heights: What?#18
Posted: 4/21/08 at 8:56pm
I am latin. I don't think this gives voice to latino people or anything like that. Not at large.

Its just cheesy. That ain't how it is for me.

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re: In the Heights: What?#19
Posted: 4/21/08 at 8:58pm
Really? I heard some positive reviews and have tickets for this Friday.
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re: In the Heights: What?#20
Posted: 4/21/08 at 8:59pm
'Cry Baby' aint 'Hairspray' and 'In The Heights' aint nothing special !
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re: In the Heights: What?#21
Posted: 4/21/08 at 11:35pm
My initial "LOL" was a little harsh and I'm sorry about that. Chica's post was well thought out and a muc better reply than my own. I'm sorry you didn't like the show.

HOWEVER...


I have to really disagree with the person who said the choreography was "Eh". For me, the choreography was one of the stronger points of the show. From the technical standpoint it seems challenging, which I enjoy. It also works really well with the rest of the show in general. As a dancer it is something I would love to perform.
http://www.beintheheights.com/katnicole1 (Please click and help me win!) I chose, and my world was shaken- So what?
The choice may have been mistaken, The choosing was not...
"Every day has the potential to be the greatest day of your life." - Lin-Manuel Miranda
"And when Idina Menzel is singing, I'm always slightly worried that her teeth are going to jump out of her mouth and chase me." - Schmerg_the_Impaler
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re: In the Heights: What?#22
Posted: 4/22/08 at 1:12am
I do think that In The Heights does give a positive outlook towards a culture that is seen in most media as a stereotype. A culture that is constently seen on TV as drug dealers high school drop outs etc etc. But, when it is a show that shows a group of people in a good light then it most certainly is a good thing. I remember reading a post on here where someone described it as Fiddler. Of course the poster that said that got bashed by the next comment saying that a show like In The Heights would never live up to be the kind of show that Fiddler is.

Now, I don't think that the poster that was making that comment was saying that In The Heights was going to be the next Fiddler. I think that what the poster meant by saying that was that just like Fiddler does a good job of showing the jewish culture onstage in a good light. In The Heights does the same thing with Latin culture. I am not Latino at all. In fact I was born and raised jewish. I can't tell you how much of Fiddler rang true to me and knowing where my great grandmother came from.

I feel that it is a big thing that a group of people who are not normally seen on Broadway in a positive light (note that Hispanics weren't looked at in positive light in West Side Story) and that people can see that the stereotypes are in fact not true.

Yes, Lin did go to Wesleyan. I THINK it was on a scholarship but don't quote me on that. But, he admits that and he jokes about how growing up he missed Washington Heights by about five blocks. But, I think that it doesn't matter. I think that he has a great sense of his culture and the way Latinos are looked at on television and movies and has a good sense of how they actually are to write a musical about it. Once again with the comparison to Fiddler in terms of being a musical that relates to a particular culture. The people who wrote fiddler weren't living in turn of the century Russia when they wrote the show. Yet, it doesn't change the impact that the story has.
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re: In the Heights: What?#23
Posted: 4/22/08 at 4:26am
Well said, Winston, but there's one thing I have to take issue with.

Yes, Lin did go to Wesleyan. I THINK it was on a scholarship but don't quote me on that.

What difference does it make if he went to Wesleyan on a scholarship? What difference does it make that he went to Wesleyan in the first place?

Isherwood says IN THE HEIGHTS offers an airbrushed look at urban culture.

Why didn't critics say when THE MUSIC MAN premiered that it offered an airbrushed look at suburban culture?

It really irks me how people go off about how the fact that HEIGHTS is a good, clean story somehow makes it unrealistic because it happens to be about a community of Latinos.

If it were about a community of white people in an urban neighborhood, no one would be making these complaints.

COMPANY is about a group of mostly white friends in upper Manhattan. Nobody complains that COMPANY offers an airbrushed look at urban culture, because it's about white people.

These biases that people keep applying to their critiques are very disheartening and are just what the creators of IN THE HEIGHTS were working to erase by creating their musical about Latinos in an urban neighborhood.
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Updated On: 4/22/08 at 04:26 AM
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re: In the Heights: What?#24
Posted: 4/22/08 at 6:59am
wow foster i could not agree more
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna