The Milwaukee Repertory Theater's In The Heights Reaches for the Stars
By Livia Peterson
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s In The Heights is a breathtaking piece of theatre that stays with you long after the curtain call.
Based on the book of the same name by Quiara Alegria Hudes, music and lyrics by the Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, and helmed by the Rep Associate Artistic Director May Adrales, In The Heights deeply resonates, even if one does not come from a Hispanic or Latinx background.
The narrator and bodega owner Usnavi de la Vega (Ryan Alvarado) introduces us to Nina Rosario (Sophia Macias) and her parents Camila and Kevin (Karmine Alers and Tony Chiroldes), the salon owners Daniela and Carla (Lillian Castillo and Alyssa Gomez), Graffiti Pete (UJ Mangune), Piragua Guy (Henry Gainza), and dispatch manager Benny (David Kaverman). We also meet Usnavi’s mother figure Abuela Claudia (Yassmin Alers), love interest Vanessa (Stephanie Gomerez), and cousin Sonny (Nicolas Garza). Nina is the first to attend college, escaping Washington Heights to better her life. Thus, the family and friends yearn to escape the barrio as well. The musical spans over three days during the Independence Day week, as we experience the daily lives of Latinx folks.
In The Heights is a party with tons of salsa on the surface. Yet, it is more than a party as we examine the themes. Chasing dreams and finding your place in the world hits home, as I am still trying to find my place within the Milwaukee’s film and theatre community. I am a film critic at the core and yet, theatre consistently touches my soul and crossing between the communities is difficult. One of the many connotations is you stay within a given community (such as film enthusiasts only watch films and discuss with the Film Twitter), remain, and intersecting is a challenge. It is a challenge indeed and yet, the Rep’s Social Media Club provides a sense of place within the theatre community, in my instance. I am attending UW-Milwaukee and thus, I am able to relate to Nina, as the workload is sometimes unbearable and desiring a social life outside of college. Abuela Claudia reflected my late grandma Jane, as she was always there through the thick and thin for me. All these characters echoed someone in my life, whether it was a little or a lot.
As I’ve stated numerous times, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater allows you to become a better human being via the brilliant theatrical productions and consistently provides rejuvenating experiences. This experience is once in a lifetime with Broadway talent on the Quadracci Powerhouse stage and yes, you’ll wanna salsa besides resonating with the characters from start to finish.
In The Heights continues through Sunday, October 28, 2018.
Photo by Michael Brosilow.
Milwaukee Repertory Theater│Quadracci Powerhouse
108 East Wells Street, Milwaukee WI 53202
Official Website │414-224-9490