In The Heights Review - A Must-See Performance

In The Heights is a must-see performance of the year! The Tony Award winning Broadway musical took place at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, IL. Director, Rachel Rockwell has put together an outstanding combination of acting, singing and choreography that will simply amaze you every step of the way.

Photo Credit :Liz Lauren

Taking place in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, we get a glimpse of how strong relationships are formed within the Latino families and surrounding community.  Despite all the hardships that take place, everyone comes together as one in order to overcome every situation thrown their way.

As we continue, we are introduced to several unique characters that will inspire everyone in the room. Nick Demeris takes on the lead role of Usnavi who is a struggling bodega owner that was left to him by his deceased parents.  His desire to be with Vanessa grows as the show continues and he will do whatever it takes to win her heart.  Usnavi has to face many difficult situations. For instance, his business is broken into and his grandmother passes away. However, despite all the hardships he endures, he is able to prevail.

In The Heights Cast, Photo Credit :Liz Lauren

The beautiful voice of Vanessa, played by Caitlainne Rose Gurreri , fills the room time and time again throughout the performance. Although she constantly struggles with her alcoholic mother and her financial difficulties, she continues to work hard so that she is able to move out of The Heights. She slowly starts to give Usnavi a chance and allows him to take her out dancing. It is not until he is about to leave the neighborhood for good does she realize her true feelings for him.    

Vanessa and Usnavi, Photo Credit :Liz Lauren

When Nina, played by Christina Nieves, returns home from college, she faces the difficult situation of telling her parents that she is not returning to school because financial hardships. She must also tell her family that she has fallen for Benny, who is not Latino.  These obstacles appear to be hard for Nina to take on and she has many difficult decisions to face.  

Benny (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis), who works for Nina’s father,falls in love with Nina which becomes a problem for her parents. Benny is not well liked as Nina’s boyfriend and he is eventually fired from the company.   He attempts to stay positive and continues to have a relationship with Nina despite what they may say.

Benny and Nina, Photo Credit :Liz Lauren

Sonny, played by Luis Herrera, plays the role of Usnavi’s younger and very outgoing cousin. Sonny assists his cousin in the bodega and is continuously asking for free things from Usnavi. He is an energetic and free spirited individual although he does not have a lot. He makes the most of what comes his way which is truly inspirational.

The comedic acting by Abuela (Paula Scrofano) had me in tears. However, she brings a sense of warmth and togetherness to everyone around her. Abuela (grandma) treats everyone in the neighborhood as family. She ends up purchasing a lottery ticket and wins $96,000. She wants to help Usnavi and Sonny leave New York for good. However, she continues to show signs of being ill until she cannot hold onto her life any longer.

Abuela and Nina, Photo Credit :Liz Lauren

Kevin and Camila (Ricardo Gutierrez and Lucinda Johnston ) are the parents of Nina. They are heartbroken to discover that Nina has dropped out of college. However, her father is willing to sell their family business of over 20 years  in order to send her back to school.

Piragua Guy(David Baida) demonstrates the hardships of having a very small business while competing with the large corporations of today. He is a determined gentleman who continues to walk the streets of the neighborhood until the blackout allows him to feel the success he has been searching for.

In The Heights is running now through October 6th. The Paramount continues to bring a variety of wonderful shows throughout the 2013-14 season. Tickets can be purchased at the box office by calling (630) 896-6666. For information regarding new subscriptions, single tickets and other information, you may also visit The Paramount Theatre.

 

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