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27Feb

In the Heights @ Pennsauken High School

¡Atención, atención! Pennsauken leaves its audience in cheers and tears with their production of In The Heights.

Originating in 2005,  In The Heights first performed off Nroadway with lyrics and composing done by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the script written by Quiara Algeria Hudes. In The Heights focuses mainly on the stories of Usnavi and Nina, but as a whole, the show is about a community coming together in order to keep their culture, way of life, and themselves thriving.

The show opens up with this bustling community as people walk by going through their daily lives while the characters are introduced to us by Usnavi. Every song had its own sort of charm, whether it was for laughs or cries, the actor did an excellent job of making the audience feel the same emotions the characters on stage were. In the beginning however, the energy seemed a little low, but it continuously grew throughout the show.

From the very start of the show, Usnavi (Mayeline Rodriguez) creates a connection between her character and the audience, speaking to the audience directly as she goes on to introduce the characters of this story. Her lighthearted acting and comedy work their way into the hearts of everyone as she tells the story of Usnavi and those surrounding him. The story also finds its way to revolving around another character, Nina Rosario (Dalia Abou Harb). From her first song, Breathe, Harb made an impact on the audience with her strong yet heart filling voice, as you can really hear the heartbreak and emotion as she sings.

Each supporting character brought so much charm to this show, each of them adding to the community that was being built on this stage.  Abuela Claudia (Maritza Olarte) adds so much warmth to this show as it's clear that her character is a strong parental figure to many of the characters in this show. Olarte does an amazing job of portraying this sense of connection between her and the other characters. Daniela (Ariana Roberts) also leaves the audience laughing with her numerous comedic moments. Her comedic timing and acting are entertaining and like many people within this cast, her voice is astounding, especially during her song Carnaval Del Barrio. She brings so much energy to her character and the show every time she's on stage.

The tech of this entire show was truly a highlight, especially the set. The set shows us the scenery of exactly what this block in the town would like, with Usnavi's bodega, the Roasario's taxi company, Abuela's house, and the salon. The usage of lights throughout the show was also beautiful as it truly made a point to match the emotion of every scene and song that they were being used in. A notable moment of this would be when the orange lights were at the bottom of the cyc during the song Sunrise. The fireworks during Blackout were also very impressive as throughout the rest of the show they blend in with the cyc and aren't noticeable until their actual use which helps from causing distraction.

This show as a whole was full of heart, compassion, and as previously stated, community. This heartwarming production was sure to leave a lasting impression on its audience.

About the Author

Flood-Orion, Jeffrey

Flood-Orion, Jeffrey

Program Director - FY20 Season

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