BY: OLIVIA VARNSON
(Gainesville, Ga.)—The Gainesville Theatre Alliance (GA) held its stage tour for “In the Heights,” the first show of the season, on Tuesday, January 27.
“In the Heights” is a musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Quiara Algería Hudes wrote the accompanying book of the same title. It tells the story of a neighborhood at the north end of Manhattan. The majority of the members of the community are Dominican-American. Usnavi, the play’s narrator, runs a small bodega and dreams of returning the Dominican-Republic, the place he was born but is too young to remember.
The play explores the common experiences of immigrants in the United States. Nina Rosario is the first of her family to go to college, but when she returns home for winter break, she expresses the difficult of adjusting to yet another new world as an outsider.
Benny, Nina’s childhood friend, also struggles with a language barrier as one of the only people in the neighborhood who is not Latino and does not speak Spanish. Usnavi, Nina and Benny along with an ensemble of characters in their community commiserate over the confines of their neighborhood and wonder if they will ever “make it” out of there.
GTA director Jim Hammond discussed how the story of immigrants struggling to balance two cultures is a story as old as the United States itself. As a contemporary play, “In the Heights” takes that classic story and gives it a modern spin with rhythmic songs and even verses of rap. From the choreography to the costume design, the cast and crew of “In the Heights” have brought the neighborhood of Washington Heights to life with vibrant music and dance.
“In the Heights” opens Feb. 10 at 7:30pm and will run through Feb. 21 at Brenau University’s Hosch Theatre in the John S. Burd Center.