The bottom line
Playing at the Village Theatre in Issaquah through Oct. 26, In the Heights is an infectiously upbeat Tony-Award winning musical with a salsa beat. Storylines depicting the dreams and hopes of each character are seamlessly interwoven through rapping, music and dancing. Highlights include exemplary performances by the actors, especially Perry Young and Kyle Robert Carter, both of whom reprise roles from the In the Heights national tour. This musical would be enjoyed by ages 10 and up.
The story unfolds in the colorful Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, a close community of primarily Dominican-Americans and other latinos. The realistic set, based on photos of the actual Washington Heights neighborhood, consists of apartments, a hair salon, a cab company and a bodega. In the background is the majestic George Washington Bridge.
Usnavi, owner of the bodega, narrates the play by rapping — often with hilarious turns of phrase. Everyone in this tight-knit neighborhood of hard-working, struggling residents has a dream, most of which center on “getting out” of the barrio. But the one girl who did make it out, Nina, beautifully played by Tanesha Ross, is hiding a secret, that she lost her college scholarship to Stanford.
Then a resident wins $96,000 in the lottery. Relationships are further tested when a blackout is triggered by a record-breaking heat wave.
The dance sequences (choreographed by Daniel Cruz, who also plays Graffiti Pete) are intricate and well-executed, and the songs are rapid-fire — performed almost too quickly to catch the words — but fun. Corrina Lapid Munter makes a convincing grandma as Abuela Claudia, the neighborhood matriarch with a surprisingly big voice.
This high-energy, hip-hop musical about the meaning of home will draw you in and have you tapping your feet to the beat. If you're like my 15-year-old daughter, you may even want to sign up for salsa lessons.
Should you take your kid?
There is cursing in the show, along with a few sexual jokes and innuendo. The running time is over two hours, but it is action-packed and moves quickly.
The show would be best enjoyed by ages 10 and up, but that recommend depends on the child, of course. If you aren’t sure about the appropriate age for this show, check out the detailed Performance Review Guide.
If you go ...
When and where: In the Heights runs Sept. 18-Oct. 26 at the Francis Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N. Issaquah. It also shows in Everett from Oct. 31–Nov. 3.
Tip: The Francis Gaudette Theatre has a soundproof cry room for parents with children less than four years old for those times when a babysitter isn’t available.
Snacks and meals: The theater is connected to Fins Bistro which lets adults can pre-order cocktails for the 15-minute intermission. You can also pre-order from the dessert menu.
Bottled water, candy, coffee and tea are available for sale in the lobby. Cash only.
The theater is near several eateries, including Domino’s Pizza, Confetti Cupcakes, Yum-E Yogurt, and many other choices,
Parking: There is plenty of parking, all within a short walk to the theater.