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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In the Heights At the Academy of Music

In the Heights:
A Review by Sojourner Ahebee

On Tuesday the 18th of January, I had the utmost pleasure of attending In the Heights at the Academy of Music. This presentation was part of the Kimmel Center's Broadway Series. This was my first time seeing In the Heights, so I went in not knowing the storyline or what to expect. What I witnessed on that stage was pure genius; and that only begins to describe this musical.

In the Heights tells the story of a diverse Hispanic community trying to find themselves, find value in their culture while aspiring to live out the American Dream. The story that touched me the most was that of a young woman named Nina,who from a child had always succeeded in school . Her hard work and determination really paid off and she was accepted to Stanford University. Even though this was such a huge achievement for Nina, there were still a few problems. She found it quite difficult to fit in because the environment was quite different than of her home surroundings. Also, she had to work two jobs to buy books she didn’t even have the time to read. This is such a heartbreaking yet common story. It very much angers me. You never know what people have to battle before the school day even starts. Consequently, she fell behind in school and was asked to leave. It took Nina forever to tell her parents because she didn’t want to disappoint them, but eventually she did. You will be quite surprised and touched to see what her parents do to enable her to return Stanford. You really get to see their love for their child through their actions.

Okay ,anyways, let’s not forget about the fabulous music. I loved how the play predominantly used music to paint the heart of this tale. One of my favorite songs was “96,000”. It’s about a lottery ticket and what everyone would do with the money if they won. Through this song you understood the dreams and desires of the play’s characters.. You saw their desperation, yet you saw their passion to make the best of what they already had. The song is a very vibrant one that makes you wanna jump out of your seat and dance. I had actually performed it at my choral concert prior to this performance, so it was especially fun to watch. Also, don’t think this musical is only about the serious things in life; there is much humor throughout this musical.. For example, another one of my favorite songs was Piragua. Piragua is a Puerto- Rican frozen treat, almost like water-ice. This musical number was sung by a man who sold these frozen treats. He often sung about how the Mr. Softee truck is ruining his business. But, one day there is a blackout and he sings about the Mr. Softee truck being broken and what a joy this is to him. It is quite a funny performance full of humor and pizzazz.

The choreography was fresh and current, yet it reminded me a lot of the exuberance of the dancing in West Side Story.

All in all, In the Heights ended on a light and happy note. There is not one moment you are not being wowed out your mind! On a scale from one to ten, I would give this show a million! I would definitely recommend this to people of all ages! Everyone can relate at some point in this musical to its theme of identity and how we come to define ourselves. In the Heights is at the Academy of Music from January 18- 23, 2011. I hope everyone comes out and supports In the Heights. Below is a link for more information.

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