In The Heights: Broadway Review

By Jeff Walsh

"In The Heights" seems like a Broadway show that shouldn't exist. A show about relationships, family, and community without an ounce of cynicism that tells heartfelt stories of Latino immigrants living in Manhattan? How is this even onstage, let alone winning Best Musical for 2008?

After nearly two years of anticipation, I finally got to see "In The Heights" on Broadway in December. Months of "Abuela" and "Piragua casting reality show parody" YouTube videos, and watching heartwhelming videos the cast made with a 10-year-old fan, and listening to the cast recording on my iPod was a lot more information than I usually have before seeing a show. I usually wait to get the cast recording after a show.

So, it was a bit strange to finally enter the theater on 46th street, and see the songs come to life, the dialogue that never existed on my iPod, the dancing, and… I just can't recommend it highly enough. To see show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda onstage as Usnavi surrounded by the amazing vision he has given to the world was a true gift.

The show doesn't have one central plotline, but is a mixed narrative involving a lot of different characters (like Rent). The show includes a taxi dispatch, a bodega, a hairsalon, and other neighborhood staples like Abuela Claudia, the matriarch of all the kids on the street, and the shaved ice seller who curses Mister Softee the way the other residents see their neighborhood becoming gentrified. The show features a mixtape of Latin beats, spoken word raps, and other musical styles fused together.

Unlike most shows reviewed on Oasis, In The Heights doesn't really have a gay angle in the show itself (earlier, unstaged incarnations of the show had one storyline, but it never made it to the final version). So our hook for Oasis is entirely openly gay actor Robin De Jesus as Sonny, a role which netted him a Tony nomination for best featured actor in a musical. (He was interviewed in Oasis when the show opened off-Broadway and again when he was nominated for the Tony). In the show, De Jesus plays Sonny, a straight thug with an eye for the ladies, an interesting political viewpoint, and a lot of funny lines. He was definitely one of the highlights of the show.

So, if you're in New York, you should definitely consider checking out In The Heights. This show has an amazing heart, a great message, perfect music, and a talented cast. What more could you ask for?


ACCgirl's picture

No way! It's doing that

No way! It's doing that well? That's awesome!

I saw this show on Broadway when it first came out... thinking that it wasn't going to get the attention it deserved. I'm so happy to see that it's such a success!

The cast is lovely. We had a Q and A after the show, and they're a charismatic bunch both on the stage and off.

msquared's picture

I love the CD and wish I

I love the CD and wish I could go see it. Inutil has got to be my favorite song. Even though I'm not an inner-city Latino immigrant father, somehow it still strikes home.

"But don't be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it."
-Stephen Colbert

typicalmusician's picture

I absolutely love love LOVE

I absolutely love love LOVE the music for this show. If I'm ever in New York....!! I had no idea there was a gay actor in it-that's wonderful. :)

gaynow's picture

Lin Man + ITH is

Lin Man + ITH is FANTAAAASTIC! Go see it. Now.

Megan: "Cheers are supposed to be simple, make people feel good."
Graham: "Cheers make girls do stupid cartwheels. Orgasms make people feel good."
-But I'm a Cheerleader