Review: Seattle Rep's IN THE HEIGHTS Will Bring You Home

Review: HELLO, DOLLY! at Village Theatre
The cast of In the Heights at the Seattle Rep.
Photo credit: Michael Brosilow

Before there was "Hamilton" there was "In the Heights". I know I'm a nerd, but it floors me how many people don't know that. Most theater aficionados know of "Hamilton" and by extension of Lin-Manuel Miranda but have a blind spot for "In the Heights" the Tony winning show that put Miranda on the map. And while it certainly feels like an early work from the man who would become King, it's still quite stunning and ground breaking for its time and the production from the Seattle Rep manages to capture all the heat and heart that the show demands.

With a book by Quiara Alegria Hudes and music and lyrics from Miranda the Hip-Hop/Latin/Rap musical follows the residents of a section of Washington Heights in New York. Usanavi (Ryan Alvarado) runs the local bodega with his young cousin Sonny (Nicolas Garza). Daniela (Lillian Castillo) has the beauty shop next door with Carla and Vanessa (Alyssa V. Gomez and Stephanie Gomerez). And the Rosarios, Kevin and Camila (Tony Chiroldes and Karmine Alers) have the car service which includes driver Benny (David Kaverman) who's in love with their daughter Nina (Sophia Macias) who's off at college in California. And then there's Abuela Claudia (Yassmin Alers) who, while not really anyone's Abuela, is the matriarch and heart of the neighborhood.

The Rep's production is a more intimate one than I've seen owing to the smaller space as the one I'd seen prior was the National Tour. But that doesn't make it any less powerful. The intimate space may require fewer dancers and a tighter staging but the vibrant choreography from William Carlos Angulo when combined with director May Adrales' staging makes the neighborhood come alive. Each storyline interweaves seamlessly as their lives are all interwoven with each other making the stakes for one amplify as it becomes the stakes for all. And so, when tragedy eventually strikes, it's even more powerful.

The cast is sublime. Alvarado makes for a perfect through line for the tale and keeps it all moving but still retains his own story and intent. Garza is adorable as the young and itching to grow up Sonny. Kaverman and Macias have tons of chemistry together making their relationship smoking hot as do Alvarado and Gomerez but less hot and more hilariously awkward. And of course, everyone has incredible voices and dance moves.

But as good as everyone is, it's the women that are truly shining in the show. Macias' voice pierces the back of the house and your soul. Karmine Alers commands the stage as she commands her family during her number "Enough". Castillo blows the roof off the theater as she starts off the "Carnival". And Yassmin Alers steals the show as the lovable Abuela who's not only the heart of the neighborhood but the heart of the show.

If you're looking to expand your knowledge of all things Lin-Manuel Miranda or even just see this wonderful piece again, this production has got you more than covered. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give the Seattle Rep's production of "In the Heights" a heartfelt YAY. By the end, you'll all feel like you're home.

"In the Heights" performs at the Seattle Rep through December 30th. For tickets or information contact the Seattle Rep box office at 206-443-2222 or visit them online at


ArtsWest to Welcome New Managing Director Inji Kamel

The Board of Directors at ArtsWest has announced that Inji Kamel is joining the team as ArtsWest's new Managing Director effective May 22, 2023.  Her ties within the arts community, broad experience in theater management and production, and deep commitment to the same values ArtsWest holds made her a fabulous candidate for this position. The addition of Inji as Managing Director completes the ArtsWest team, and the company is planning for the future with vision and enthusiasm.

Review: HELLO, DOLLY! at Village Theatre

In the musical theater world, there are classics and then there are Classics (with the big “C”). Jerry Herman’s “Hello, Dolly!” is certainly a big “C” Classic and I’m here to fight anyone who says different. It’s a delicious throwback to the Golden Age of musicals and certainly a star vehicle for the right star. And speaking of the right star, the current production of “Dolly”, currently playing at Village Theatre, shows just how good this Classic can be with the incredible Bobbi Kotula in the title role who proves that she’s not a star, but a Star!

Review: UNNECESSARY FARCE at Driftwood Theater

UNNECESSARY FARCE at the Driftwood Theatre is a fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled, high-octane laugh-fest. If your funny bone is out of practice, this show will whip you into shape in no time. From slapstick, innuendo, deadpan, comedy of errors, and wordplay, UNNECESSARY FARCE finds a million different ways to make you laugh.What did our critic think of UNNECESSARY FARCE at Driftwood Theater?

Seattle Shakespeare to Present THE TEMPEST as 30th Anniversary Wooden O Production This Summer

This year's free Wooden O production will be The Tempest, directed by Leah Adcock-Starr. This summer marks the 30th anniversary of free, professional Shakespeare in the Parks from Wooden O! Performances begin July 6 and run through August 6 at parks around the Puget Sound area.

From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting wo... (read more about this author)


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