Yesterday, August 1 marked the conclusion of the Broadway spectacular “In the Heights” at the San Diego Civic Theater. The traveling tour opened at the small downtown venue July 27 during a quick stop to Broadway San Diego, introducing residents to the neighborhood of Washington Heights. Audiences filled the theater on Third Avenue throughout the jaunt, tapping their feet and laughing along to the lines sung by the traveling cast.
The Tony Award winning show came to the nearly 3,000 seat stage with Joseph Morales as Usnavi, the narrator and rapper who welcomes everyone to the small neighborhood of his childhood in New York City. In the first Broadway musical to incorporate hip-hop and R&B freestyle to the stage, “In the Heights” was instantly praised critically and commercial when it premiered at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
The story was built by Lin-Manual Miranda, who originated the role of Usanvi when he penned the music and lyrics at Wesleyan University in 2000. The show eventually went on to become a favorite on Off-Broadway and is currently being turned into a film by Universal Pictures. Though Miranda wasn’t rapping to audiences that filled the San Diego Civic Center, Morales pulled out all the stops for the three hour musical detailing the lives of a group of neighbors, all of whom have big dreams but small bank accounts.
During Sunday’s final matinee, a unique opportunity was presented for those hard of hearing, deaf or who spoke English as a second language. An open captioned performance by way of messages an in-house screen allowed everyone to enjoy the show, especially locals who might not have understand the quick-lipped Morales rap as freely. This feature was especially beneficial as many of the lyrics and quick spinning jams were sung in “Spanglish.”
[image via SD Entertainer Magazine]