In the Heights, winner of four Tony Awards and a Grammy, opened last night (4.17.12 ) at the Center for the Performing Arts on Almaden Boulevard in San Jose, brought to the area by Broadway San Jose.
What are “the Heights”? For well over a hundred years Washington Heights on the northern end of Manhattan Island has sheltered waves of immigrants who have made their first homes there. They share the same hopes and dreams of all parents – to do whatever it takes to make a better life for their children.
Bay Area folks in particular may recognize the struggle and shame of “Nina Rosario” In one of the subplots , who is forced to abandon her scholarship to Stanford when she finds that working two jobs in order to pay for books has cut too sharply into her energy for studying. Her father’s response, in the hope that Nina can return to Stanford and succeed if she no longer needs to earn her expenses, is to sell his business, recognizing that he is able to earn more money as a mechanic, the work he used to do on his way up to owning a taxi service.
A warm, fulfilling plot, “real” not sugared, amazing dancing and remarkable rapping, truly likable and believable characters, humor and Tony Award winning music come together to create a compelling and compassionate theatre experience. And add to this the excellence and naturalness of the acting, and a great set. And an appreciative audience which was on its feet with a standing ovation at the finish.
Who would enjoy this? Anyone would enjoy the production, and the strong family and community values which underlie the plot will strike a chord with adults. Teen-agers and younger will appreciate the rapping and dancing, the credibility of the characters, the ways they care for each other and the energy that explodes onto the stage. The last performance here is on April 22, 2012. Spanish and English are interwoven occasionally, but non-Spanish speakers we talked with after the performance didn’t feel that was a problem, since the Spanish is so well supported by the context.
If you would like to explore further, visit www.broadwaysanjose.com. You can also check out the productions for the 2012-2013 season and for the remainder of this season while you are on the Broadway San Jose website.