Review Roundup: GALA Hispanic Theatre's IN THE HEIGHTS
The U.S. premiere in Spanish of the ground-breaking musical In The Heights. Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda, with book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, music and lyrics by Mr. Miranda will conclude the 41rd main stage season of Teatro Gala. In The Heights is being directed and choreographed by original Broadway's Latin Assistant Choreographer Luis Salgado who also directed a Spanish production of Speed-the-Plow back in August 2015 with a multicultural cast.
While there were surtitles for all performances, which were primarily in Spanish, this production integrates some English to better reflect the use of both languages by the characters. Thus, the surtitles will be in English and Spanish, as appropriate.
This spirited musical by the creator of Hamilton tells a story of the love, hopes and heartbreaks of a tightly knit multicultural community on the brink of change in New York's Washington Heights. Teeming with vivid neighborhood characters such as the romantically skittish bodega owner, attractive beautician, wise grandmother, and a young student and her culturally different boyfriend, the stage will sizzle with the urban energy of hip hop, salsa, and merengue.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
BroadwayWorld, Vanessa Michaud: . The whole cast did a fantastic job in portraying those sentiments as they sang lyrics of raising your country's flag for the world to see. With a highly diverse cast, with individuals from Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Peru, to name a few, it was evident how proud they were in participating in this production and specifically in this number.
Washington City Paper, Mike Paarlberg: If Miranda's story of a specific community at a specific time feels familiar and timeless, it's because it was designed to. In the Heights is a Werther's original in a funky new package, a vision of urban youth culture that's hip but not too hip, where kids rock their Jordans but respect their elders. For those of us on the outside looking in, it's reassuring to be told everything old is new again, and vice versa.
DC Metro Theater Arts, Nicole Hertvik: The setting did such a good job of replicating New York in summer, with its bodegas, hair salons and taxi dispatches, that by the time the Piragua Guy (vocal powerhouse Felix Marchany) comes through with his cart of snow cones, you can almost feel the sweat of a hot New York day forming on your brow.
The Washington Post, Peter Marks :Miranda and Hudes offer ample opportunity, too, for robust solo moments, and several of GALA's actors grab the spotlight as if they were born to it. For example, Verónica Álvarez Robles , who plays Vanessa, the woman Usnavi (Juan Luis Espinal) pines for, and who aches to live downtown, is downright sensational. During the Act 1 number "Ya Falta Poco" ("Almost There") and elsewhere, she is a dynamic dancing-and-singing force. Espinal himself, in the big-hearted role Miranda played on Broadway, proves to be an appealing guide to the neighborhood.
Washingtonian, Rosa Cartagena: Salgado says that the linguistic conflict is crucial to have in DC. "If Trump is saying I want to build walls, what is Kevin Rosario"-he says, referencing one of the lead characters-"saying when he says you can't be with my daughter because you don't speak the language?"