Monday, March 31, 2008
"In The Heights" Musical
We had a fabulous weekend in New York City. We stayed in the theater district, ate at a great Thai restaurant on 9th (Chanpen) and got cool "designer" jewelry and sunglasses for $5 on the street.
We wandered into the Richard Rodgers Theater to see what the deal was with tickets for matinees. The play was "In the Heights" and we knew zip about it; I had done research on shows with big name actors or the off-Broadway plays. We asked about the "Lottery" seats and they said they were going to call those in five minutes at noon. We dropped our names into a bucket and they had 22 tickets available. About 30-40 people were gathered around as she called names. She called us and we were ecstatic -- we got front row tickets for $26 each!
I've sat in the front row before and it's a bit rough to see dance performances since it's tough to see everything, especially in ensemble dances. However, it's still front row.
"In the Heights" is an amazing musical focusing on an urban Latino community in Washington Heights, Manhattan. It's young, energetic and current. The dancing was fabulous with mix of Latin (salsa to mambo) and hip hop. There were the basic elements Broadway musicals always seem to have -- soloists gazing into the balcony as they sing about their dreams, the battling duets where two singers belt out their own songs, yet synchronized, lots of conversations with big smiles and random dancers that are part of the set design. The orchestra was surpremely talented as the music was so diverse and they were on the spot. What the hell -- these are some of the most talented performers and artists in the city.
As a poet, the lyrics of the show got me. I'm sitting there counting rhymes and the rhythm of the words, breaking at the right spot and conveying a precise message. Lin-Manuel Miranda is actor/lyricist and playwright of the show. We were thrilled to meet him by the stage exit and tell him how amazing the writing was; he actually recognized us from the first row! (Oh yeah!)
What struck a chord with us was the immigrant struggle. This story could easily be translated from the Latino theme to Desi theme (set in Jackson Heights, Queens, of course!). Instead of having a "carnivale" in the street, desis would strike up a garba or a bhangra! (Anyone out there want to write this with me??).