Temescal Canyon High School presents ‘In the Heights’

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Students at Temescal Canyon High School will present the award-winning Broadway musical “In the Heights” beginning Thursday, Feb. 20.

Starring Adrian Alvarez as Usnavi De La Vega, Leanna Bagby as Nina Rosario, JaCori Neal as Benny, Aaliyah Soto as Vanessa, David Navejas as Kevin Rosario, Vanessa Martinez as Camila Rosario, Cristina Pacheco Nungaray as Abuela Claudia, Alexi Rodriguez as Daniela, Lily Baker as Carla, Jesus “Chuy” Esquer as Sonny, Christian Paternostro as Graffiti Pete and Anderson Myers as Piraguero/Piragua Guy, the musical will feature the original set and props, designed by Anna Louizos from the original Broadway and National Tour.

Ian Carter, Jenna Czech, Marielle Dumlao, Grace Fleming, Isabella Garcia and Jaelin Neal round out the cast.

“With only six students in the show having ever performed in a TCHS production before, the majority of this diverse cast will be making their stage debut with this production,” Director Tara Abell said. “I think that speaks to the powerful message of this musical.”

“In the Heights” is the story of three days in the tightly‐knit Latin community of Washington Heights, on the island of Manhattan. During the hottest part of summer, the Fourth of July weekend, the audience gets to know the changing neighborhood and its people through universal stories of love, hope and faith.

According to a press release issued by Temescal Canyon High School, the groundbreaking musical is “the next chapter in the classic American story.” Featuring diverse music and dance styles including salsa, hip-hop, soulful ballads, and moments of pure musical bliss, “In the Heights” is a show about home and where you belong.

“From the Tony Award‐winning writer and creators of the Broadway smash, ‘Hamilton,’ comes a beautiful, touching, vibrant and timely immigrant story that is very akin to a 21st century version of ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’” the release said.

“Temescal Canyon High School’s student population, of approximately 2,250 students, contains 43% Caucasian, 46% Hispanic, 7% African American, 4% Asian/Filipino/Pacific Islander,” Abell said. “‘In the Heights’ offers an opportunity for the kids that make up 57% of our student population, to see a story which shows characters that they can see themselves in.”

“In the Heights’” off-Broadway run in 2007 received nine Drama Desk Award nominations, winning two. In 2008, the Broadway production was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, winning for Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestration. It also won a Grammy and was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It played on Broadway for nearly three years and over 1,100 performances.

This production also offers the opportunity to see “In the Heights” onstage, before the film adaptation hits the big screen in June.

“‘In the Heights’ recognizes the beauty of a small community and emphasizes that the human condition extends beyond race and ethnicity,” Abell said. “Despite all of the newcomers, it’s one of the most talented casts I have ever worked with – ever. These kids were born to play these roles. We are also extremely excited to have the original set and props, designed by Anna Louizos, from the original Broadway and National Tour. Could you imagine performing on a Broadway set, your first time onstage? What a dream come true.”

“In the Heights” will be presented in the Jeanie Corral Performing Arts Centre at Temescal Canyon High School, 28755 El Toro Road, in Lake Elsinore, Feb. 20-22 and Feb. 27-29.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students. Presale tickets are available to students, through the TCHS bookkeeper during school hours

For information, including show times or tickets, call (951) 253-7250 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Kim Harris can be reached by email at valleyeditor@reedermedia.com.