I believe in musicals. Again. Thanks to IN THE HEIGHTS!

Good morning wahhhld,

I'm excited today. Mainly because last night I saw a new musical, well newish, and it blew me away. If you've talked to me in the last couple years, you know that I'm less than pleased with the state of musical theater and Broadway in particular. I'm tired of the revivals, the star vehicles, the shows about music we have already heard, the LOUDNESS, the plastic acting, the bullshit perfection, and the money money money. Where is the HEART, Broadway? Where?

Well, I found it last night at the touring production of "In The Heights" at the Pantages Theater. If you live in LA, GO NOW. Don't even think about it. Just buy a ticket. You'll be happy you did.

This production is ALL heart. It's electric, raw, original, funny, and beautifully done from the set to the casting to every last word. It's the story of a family - a neighborhood - on a corner in Washington Heights - and how they change and grow and learn to stand up for what they love and be who they were meant to be, together. It's also the story of an immigrant community in New York City - music, food, laughter, dancing, pride, tradition, and language! It's a celebration of Latin culture. But it's also completely and thoroughly AMERICAN. And it's beautiful. It makes you want to dance. And it also makes you cry. The brilliant writer/composer/star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, gives each generation a chance to tell us how it is - and the moments moved me to tears. We have the returning college student, afraid to let her parents down - the proud father, worried about becoming useless to his more advanced child - the loving Abuela - who sees everything in the light of the past and lives by faith alone. These are just a few of the characters that pop and bring a real life experience, and a real culture, and a real struggle onto the stage with vibrant, raw, and touching colors!

Then there is the music. It's about time we heard something original on Broadway. The entire score is complicated and messy and full of life. It moves to the beat of the current rhythm of that neighborhood - rap and latin and pop all mixed together in a fabulous American stew. It moves. I couldn't stop bopping my head and crying the whole time.

I must have looked like a crazy person. BUT this is why I love theater! This is what it should do. It should be the ultimate mix of all of the art forms, mixed up together on stage, and then let loose! A live performance should be scary and exciting and transformative! Not pretty and perfect and impressive. The body shapes on stage reflected the bodies I see on the street, the people reflected the people I know in real life, and the music and colors and lights were beyond amazing so that I was spiritually transported into the world. That is what theater does, when it is done right.

Here I am with the man himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda. He's got HUGE talent!!!!!!
My lovely friend Drea, outside the Pantages! Hand on Hip!

The corner of Washington Heights were it all goes down!

So bravo, "In The Heights"! Bravo as well, for creating a fabulous tour. So often the tours are less than awesome. I can't imagine that this one doesn't stand up to the original. So, if you're in LA, go! I was fortunate enough to win tickets from EDGE LOS ANGELES. Check out the site!

PS: I love falling in love with something. I want to know everything about it and hear it over and over again!


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