Eleven Eagle Rock student actors, backed by our own student production team and an eight-piece professional pit band, are in final preparations for five performances of “In The Heights” at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins starting next Wednesday, March 19.
This recent smash-hit Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes has been called “The West Side Story for a new generation” (Chicago Sun-Times), picking up a total of four Tony Awards in 2008. A feature film adaptation is currently in the initial stages of production.
For our staged version, Miranda’s inspiring story is enacted by a cast of talented Eagle Rock students under the direction of Isaac Leslie and Brighid Scanlon.
This musical takes place in the barrio (neighborhood) of Washington Heights, New York City, where the majority of residents are Dominican-American. The story’s characters include Usnavi, a Dominican bodega owner; Nina, a brilliant first-generation student; her doting parents Kevin and Camila who emigrated from Puerto Rico; and the Cuban-born “Abuela” Claudia, whose adopted family includes everyone on the block.
These characters struggle to find meaning in their personal stories and to transcend the grind of Big City life. In the rapidly gentrifying community of Washington Heights, home prices are rising and it seems that only pride, love and sheer determination — or a juicy piece of gossip — can offer them the strength to hold on for another day.
When someone in the working-class barrio wins the Lotto, the neighborhood is thrown into a tailspin. Themes of ambition, family, romance and personal identity play out over a sizzling soundtrack to create a Pan-American story that transcends national borders but is, at its heart, 100 percent New York City.
Since 2011, our Music and Performance Department has been part of the Berklee City Music Network. Nijaah Pierce (Vanessa), whose singing wowed audiences in last year’s performances of the rock musical “Rent,” is one of the students whose Berklee training will be on full display in her vocally challenging role.
Other members of the cast include the following Eagle Students: Continue reading…