San Diego is a nice change of pace and Sunday is the last performance of “In the Heights,” a musical set on the other coast and mixing the rhythms of salsa and hip hop. This San Diego Repertory production is at the Lyceum Theater located in Horton Plaza.
My old friend Javier Velasco choreographed this show, so this isn’t really a review.
“In the Heights” is a musical that was nominated for 13 Tony Awards in 2008 and won four: Original Score, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations and Best Musical. Written by Quiara Alegria Hudes with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the story is about Usnavi, the owner of a small bodega in Washington Heights. He dreams of returning to the Dominican Republic, where he was born. His parents died when he was young and he was raised by “Abuela” Claudia. Usnavi is in love with Vanessa who works in a beauty salon and lives with her unseen alcoholic mother. One of Usnavi’s friends, Nina Rosario, is returning from Stanford with bad news for her parents–she dropped out because she had to work two jobs to get pay the bills. Yet her parents, who own a taxi company, are fiercely proud of their high achieving only child.
Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican and Italian descent, grew up in Manhattan and co-wrote the music and lyrics for “Bring It On: The Musical.”
The current production stars New Yorker Jai Rodriguez as Usnavi. Jai Rodriguez was the “Culture Vulture” on the American reality TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” He also was on the ABC sitcom “Malibu Country” on ABC.
Playing Vanessa is Danielle Mone Truitt who voiced Georgia for the animated feature “The Princess and the Frog.”
Under the direction of Sam Woodhouse, the production’s last four shows are today, Saturday, 24 August 2013, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, 25 August 2013 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
For tickets and more information, visit the San Diego Rep website.