Cabrillo Music Theatre Presents Regional Premiere of IN THE HEIGHTS at TOCAP Tonight

The American Dream takes on a Latin Beat, as Cabrillo Music Theatre will present the regional professional premiers of this "new classic" - the multi-Tony-winning Best Musical of 2008, IN THE HEIGHTS. IN THE HEIGHTS fuses contemporary music with timeless family struggles, and its' warmth, humor and joyful message resonates with all ages. IN THE HEIGHTS opens tonight, March 28, 2014, playing until Sunday, April 6th, at the 1,800-seat Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.

IN THE HEIGHTS uses contemporary music and dance to tell 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. In other words, it's a story about all of us!

"IN THE HEIGHTS is a wonderful show for theatre audiences," says Cabrillo Music Theatre's Artistic Director, Lewis Wilkenfeld. "The stage vibrates with the energy of all of our young talent, fueled by the passion of the characters. The show's charm is impossible to resist." Adds Wilkenfeld, "IN THE HEIGHTS, by using today's music, really harkens back to musicals of a couple of generations ago, when the songs you hear on the Broadway stage are the same songs you'd hear on the radio. Because of this, IN THE HEIGHTS speaks to an entirely new generation of theatre-goers!"

IN THE HEIGHTS is a show about community, and Cabrillo Music Theatre has pulled together a community of talents to create this, the regional professional premiere. Cabrillo's production will showcase the original Tony-winning Broadway choreography of Andy Blankenbuehler, recreated by the National Tour's Dance Captain, Morgan Marcell, who also directs. Brian Baker Musical Directs, with Music Supervision by Darryl Archibald. The cast of 23 includes some of the finest talents in Southern California and beyond, including Lano Medina (Usnavi), Ayme Olivo (Nina), Frank Authello Andrus Jr. (Benny), Robert Ramirez (Sonny), Celina Polanco (Camilla), Benjamin Perez (Kevin) and Tami Dahbura (Abuela Claudia).

Cabrillo Music Theatre continues its Education program during IN THE HEIGHTS. Study guides have been distributed to schools throughout the region, encouraging student participation and cultural education. Teachers and educators can use the study guides in their classrooms, plus encourage extra credit and outside studies.

IN THE HEIGHTS fuses contemporary music with timeless family struggles, and, although it is recommended for audiences age 13 and up, due to mature language, its' warmth, humor and joyful message will resonate with all ages. IN THEHEIGHTS will have audiences dancing and cheering, and is a perfect addition to Cabrillo Music Theatre's 20th Anniversary Season. Celebrate family, friends and community with IN THE HEIGHTS at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza!


ANDY BLANKENBUEHLER (Original Broadway Choreography). Broadway: In The Heights (Tony, Lortel, Calloway, Outer Critics and Drama Desk Award), Annie, Bring It On (Tony nomination), 9 To 5 (Tony nomination), The People In The Picture, and The Apple Tree. Other theatre: Fly (Dallas Theatre Center), The Wiz (City Center Encores), Desperately Seeking Susan (West End), Waiting For the Moon (Frank Wildhorn), A Little Princess (Andrew Lippa), as well as concert work for both Elton John and Bette Midler. On television, his work has been seen on "America's Got Talent", "The Sopranos", MTV, and "So You Think You Can Dance". Mr. Blankenbuehler has performed on Broadway in Fosse, Contact, Man of La Mancha, Saturday Night Fever, Steel Pier, Big, and Guys and Dolls. Mr. Blankenbuehler resides in New York City, with his wife Elly and two children, Luca and Sofia.

MORGAN MARCELL (Director/Choreography Recreation). After re-staging the original Tony-Award winning choreography in New York last spring, Morgan makes her debut as a director with this production of In The Heights! She was Dance Supervisor/Associate Choreographer of the Second National Tour, after closing the First National Tour as Dance Captain. She grew up training and performing all over San Diego County before attending Boston University as a Dean's Scholar. Currently, she works on both coasts, most recently performing in the pre-Broadway production of When You Wish, (the life of Walt Disney). Morgan had the honor of performing at Lincoln Center with the Mark Stuart Dance Theatre, and proudly serves as a member of the Classical Theater Academy at Antaeus in Los Angeles. Some of her favorite work includes the regional premiere of All Shook Up at Musical Theater West, "Nora" in Brighton Beach Memoirs, and "Mary Warren" in The Crucible at Antaeus. Other credits include: Jin Akanishi Tour; Associate Choreographer, Starlight Theater 2011, IL; Assoc. Choreographer, Volleygirls Workshop NY; "Ursula" in Bye Bye Birdie; Emergence, Milwaukee Ballet. TV/Film: Disney Channel; CBS Pilot, "Life As A Song", with choreographer, Jamal Sims; and a body of student/independents films. She is a proud member of Actors Equity.

BRIAN BAKER (Musical Director/Conductor). Arrangements and Music Direction of the Off- Broadway (and Cast Album) and World Premieres of The Marvelous Wonderettes; Original Vocal and Musical Arrangements (and Cast Album) forWinter Wonderettes by Roger Bean. Assoc. Conductor for McCoy Rigby's Miss Saigon and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Raisin (with the late Nell Carter,) Once on this Island and Let's Misbehave at International City Theatre. At Cabrillo Music Theatre, Joseph....Dreamcoat. Always, Patsy Cline and tour with Sally Struthers (2004 Ovation Nomination for Best Musical Direction); Falsettos (for NPR) with Chip Zien, Michael Rupert and Steven Bogardus, and John Rubenstein. Regional credits: One Way Ticket to Hell at the Marilyn Monroe in LA; Raisin and Charlie Brown (California Music Theatre), orchestrations and Musical Direction for Roger Bean's Route 66 and Winter Wonderettes ( LADCC Nomination). At the Utah Shakespearean Festival: Forum, Pippin, Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, The Fantasticks,Damn Yankees, Joseph, Forever Plaid and dozens of Classical and Modern plays. Brian has conducted while on Faculty at Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, American Music and Dramatic Academy (LA), Ohio State University, and Denison University.


FRANK AUTHELLO ANDRUS JR. (Benny). A Crowley, Louisiana native, Andrus received his BFA degree in Performing Arts: Musical Theatre from AMDA. He has performed in musicals, commercials, films, cable television, and so much more. Last seen on television in an ABC Family "Summer Crush" commercial sponsored by Kia, and on stage as "Seaweed J. Stubbs" in The Glendale Centre Theatre's Production of Hairspray. He is continuing to take his talent to new heights with his portrayal of "Benny" in Cabrillo's In The Heights, while also executive producing projects at KO Productions, LLC. In between juggling multiple award nominations, he is also preparing for tour in Asia.

TAMI DAHBURA (Abuela Claudia) is so happy to be joining Cabrillo Music Theatre and this talented cast. First National Tours: Memphis, In the Heights. National/International Tour: A Chorus Line. Off-Broadway: The Pajama Game, Forgotten Broadway. Regional theatre: original cast Heartland at Theatreworks in Palo Alto, and US Premiere cast of The Three Musketeers at American Musical Theatre of San Jose. Other favorite roles include "The Witch" in Into The Woods,"Electra" in Gypsy, "Marta" in Company, and "Dot" in Sunday In The Park With George. Tami has been the featured soloist with Hawaii Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, and Oakland East Bay Symphony.

LANO MEDINA (Usnavi). Having been watching, studying, and chasing this role for years, Lano is ecstatic to be making his musical debut as "Usnavi de la Vega". Also an avid lyricist and dancer, one could seldom find Lano idle, always dancing, singing, or rapping. He grew up playing baseball but it wouldn't be long before the entertainment world would become the outlet for all of that creative energy. Eventually landing roles on "Animal Practice" (NBC), "1600 Penn" with Josh Gad, and "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

AYME OLIVO (Nina) is excited to be making her return to the Cabrillo family with the cast of In The Heights. She is a Los Angeles native who attended Cal State Fullerton, graduating with a BFA in Musical Theater. She has toured with the National Tour of Mamma Mia! as "Lisa", and just last year was in MTW's production of A Chorus Line as "Diana Morales". Some Regional productions include: West Side Story "Maria" (Moonlight), Anna in the Tropics "Marela" (Sierra Rep & PCPA), and A Chorus Line "Diana" (Cabrillo). You can find her playing "Jasmine" in Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular at the California Adventure Park.

BENJAMIN PEREZ (Kevin Rosario) played "Kevin" in In The Heights in the 2nd National Tour, as well as Westchester B'way Theater in Elmsford, NY, and Casa 0101 in Boyle Heights, CA, where he was Dialect Coach and Creative Consultant, respectively. Regional credits include "Rooster" in Annie, "Magaldi" in Evita, and several roles in Ed Begley Jr.'s acclaimed NoHo production of Cesar and Ruben. He has performed for many years around the world for Princess Cruises. An LA native, he recently made his NYC debut as "Miguel Carreras" in Mexican Hayride at 42nd St.'s Lion Theater. He is thrilled to return home to play this wonderful role for CMT.

IN THE HEIGHTS will open on Friday, March 28th, 2014, and run through Sunday, April 6th. Performances are Thursday at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. A post-show discussion with cast, staff and audience will follow the Saturday, March 29th, 2:00pm performance. A signed performance for the deaf and hard-of-hearing will take place on the Friday, April 4th performance.

Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Box Office located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks, or through any Ticketmaster location, or by phone (800) 745-3000. For groups of 10 or more, please call Group Sales, Cabrillo Music Theatre at (805) 497-8613. Ticket prices range from $30-$65. For ticket and theatre information, call (805) 449-ARTS (2787).

CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE's 2013-2014 season - the 20th Anniversary - concludes with BYE BYE BIRDIE (July 18-27, 2014). Single show tickets are available.

CABRILLO MUSIC THEATRE performs exclusively at the Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Bank of America Performing Arts Center, at 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Thousand Oaks.

Cabrillo Music Theatre is the Ovation Award-winning Resident Musical Theatre Production Company of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, and a non-profit theatre organization. For over three decades, Cabrillo has been enriching the cultural life of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties and the surrounding areas by providing an extraordinary performing arts experience through live, Broadway-quality productions of musical theatre. It is Cabrillo's mission to provide the highest quality musical experience, to foster educational opportunities, and to promote cultural and artistic enrichment to enhance the quality of life in Southern California. To this end, Cabrillo Music Theatre goes "Beyond the Footlights" with programs to give back to the community, and to provide enhanced theatre experiences for all audiences. Since the inception of "Beyond the Footlights," over 38,000 underserved children, in-need seniors, and active military have enjoyed Cabrillo Music Theatre's productions at no charge. In addition, Cabrillo provides ASL signed performances of every production; talkbacks with cast and staff; and Cabrillo's Animal Rescue program, which raises funds and awareness for homeless and abused dogs and cats.

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