Students pull off challenging show with ‘In the Heights’

Alyssa Hoedl, Feature editor

Thespians put on “In the Heights” last week, a hiphop-rap musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda about a neighborhood in Washington Heights, New York.

“In the Heights” has more of a modern feel to it than most musicals. Miranda is known for making shows like this, having also written the stage version of “Bring It On.”

“This show has music more teens and non-musical people will connect to,” Veronica Wood, junior, said. “The situations are more relatable as well.”

All shows come with challenges, especially this one.

“The biggest challenge for me was finding a connect to the character and finding a way to make the whole show believable,” Ethan Potter, senior, said. “If the audience doesn’t believe what I’m telling them, they are going to be lost the entire show.”

Another challenge that was prominent in rehearsals with “In the Heights” is the language. There is a lot of Spanish throughout the show.

“We had some challenges with the language, but we listened to the Broadway sound track a lot, and one of our cast members is fluent in Spanish so he helped us all out as well,” Jan Holthus, vocal director, said.

Jenny Delaney, senior, had the role of assistant director. This job was especially challenging for her because she had never assistant directed before and this was the first musical she’d ever worked on.

“It’s hard as an assistant director to know when to voice your opinion. Working with the actors, however, has been a beautiful challenge and I’ve really enjoyed it,” Delaney said.

Wood has been seen on the school’s stage many times before, most recently as Captain Hook in “Peter Pan.” This role was much different than any of her past ones.

“Abuela Claudia is older and wiser than other characters,” Wood said. “She’s a caretaker, yet she still needs to be taken care of. She’s the least selfish person I know.”

Potter played the role of Usnavi, the leading male in “In the Heights.” Usnavi is based on  Lin-Manuel Miranda himself, and more characters and the plot are loosely based on Miranda’s life as well.

“This character is unlike anything I’ve played before,” Potter said.” “It’s weird; on the outside he’s completely different than I am: he’s Dominican and he speaks Spanish; but on the inside is where I connected.”

Potter was told to just play himself and tell it like he would normally.

Both “Peter Pan” and “In the Heights” had the same running themes of being at “home” wherever family is. This is a theme that many shows don’t focus on, and this one had this theme as its main focus.