"In the Heights" takes place in the neighborhood I lived in for ten years while I struggled to make my way as an artist in NYC. The view of the George Washington Bridge and all the mom and pop shops on Broadway are all very familiar. What is new, is the vibrant score which is a mix of rap, hip hop, salsa and meringue. The sound in the Bob isn't the best, so I had some trouble hearing lyrics, but the rhythm, beat and dancing same through loud and clear. What impressed me most about the production was the lighting done by Howell Binkley. He managed to catch the early morning way the sunlight would illuminate the tops of the buildings with a warm orange glow. At the end of the first act there was a fourth of July fireworks display that was masterfully crafted using lighting and sound.
To do this sketch I sat in the back row of the balcony, in nose bleed territory. I had a book light but became concerned that it was far to bright. Instead I sketched clandestinely in the darkness. An usher stood behind me the entire time I was working. This sketch should never have been created, but I am so glad that it was. The title "In The Heights could also refer to the fact that I did this sketch from the last seat in the last row of the balcony, nose bleed territory!
The show hits so many universal themes, like yearning to break free, living up to parents expectations, finding one's place in the world and finally discovering a place where you belong, finding home. I lived in Washington Heights for ten years yet never called it home. This show made me feel nostalgic about that time and neighborhood. The show is about hope and believing you might someday be able to change the world. I love the idea that the work of a graffiti artist could cement the thoughts of Usnavi, who yearned to get away, making him realize he was already home. On the final note of the final number the whole cast stood united singing "Home" in glorious harmony. That note left me feeling a warm glow, and I left the theater humming the tunes on the whole drive home.
There are only two performances left for "In The Heights" those are today, March 14th at 1 PM and 6:30 PM. This really was a fun show that for me hit all the right notes.