The Florida Theatrical Association the non-profit organization that presents Broadway shows here in town gave me a tip on where to find the cast party for "In the Heights". I haven't seen the show yet but I lived in Washington Heights for ten years when I lived in New York City. "In The Heights" therefor is already in my blood. The stage set photos I have seen look like it could be from a city block just north of where my apartment was. I could see the George Washington Bridge from where I lived. I can't wait to see and sketch the show.
The cast party was held at Mucho's Mexican Bar (101 East Eola Drive) in downtown Orlando. The bar is right across the street form two floors of office spaces that the Florida Theatrical Association just bought in the Sanctuary Building. There is over 20,000 square feet of space in the building. On the ground floor there is a theater which as of now still has dirt floors and on the second floor there is the huge empty space I sketched.
When I arrived at Mucho's I was given an orange arm band and I immediately sat at a corner table and started sketching the room. Ron Leger came over and introduced himself. I was honored to find out he follows this blog and supports what I am trying to accomplish. Staff put out the salsa, sour cream and opened up the hot dishes. After 10:30 PM a large black Hummer drove up to the entrance of the bar and I knew the cast was starting to arrive. I got a beer and a plate of food before the room became packed. What followed was of course a feeding frenzy with many loud and fast paced conversations going on. The room was filled with excitement. Cast members were congratulating one another and discussing the finer points of the nights performances. Chris and Jennifer sat at the table next to me. He plays in the Orchestra for the show and I think she is his wife. We introduced ourselves but then I got lost in the sketch again and lost track of what they were talking about. A couple across the way started practicing some dance steps and then they both sat back down laughing. Much of the time as I tried to sketch I was faced with a wall of peoples backs, blocking my view. Rather than get frustrated I would glance off at some other section of room and draw that. Since I hadn't seen the show, I didn't know who any of the major players were. For tonight that wasn't my concern. I just soaked up all the energy and excitement in the room and tried desperately to get it down on paper.
As I put the last washes down, people started leaving. The lights came back up and I closed my sketchbook and headed home.