San Diego REPertory Theatre (San Diego REP) in partnership with the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) presents “In the Heights” by Quiara Alegrìa Hudes as the first production of the company’s 38th season. The Tony and Grammy Award-winning production was conceived by and with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the San Diego REP production is directed by Sam Woodhouse and starring Jai Rodriguez. “In the Heights” is a production Variety Magazine calls “an uncalculated charmer.” Opening night is Sunday, Aug. 4 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 25 on the Lyceum Stage.
San Diego REP’s staging of “In the Heights” is the first resident production of the musical in San Diego. It is an exuberant, universal story of a vibrant immigrant community seeking their 21st century version of the American Dream. A 20 piece live orchestra will perform a rich, eclectic score from hip-hop, rap, jazz, pop, salsa, and meringue, with dancing staged by award-winning choreographer, Javier Velasco. “’In the Heights’ was selected to open season 38 because we fell in love with the Grammy award winning music with messages of desire, of hope, of ambition, of fear and courage as well as the cultural diversity the musical features,” said Sam Woodhouse, co-founder and artistic director, San Diego REP. “Combining Grammy Award winning music sung by a company of more than 30 onstage performers supported by a live orchestra will be thrilling and groundbreaking,” said Woodhouse. “Lin-Manuel Miranda said it best: ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is in the DNA of ‘In the Heights.’ ‘Fiddler’ is about a community where nothing’s changed for hundreds of years. ‘Heights’ is about a community where everything is changing everyday. And if we all come from different communities with our own traditions, what do we take with us, what do we keep?’ It’s a very powerful piece,” continued Woodhouse.
“In the Heights” is set in Washington Heights, the vibrant New York neighborhood on the cusp of change. Over the course of three hot summer days, a diverse group of characters will decide which traditions to take with them and which ones to leave behind. Through songs that carry their hopes, struggles and dreams, Miranda’s award-winning music sings about the importance of home, family and to find where you belong.
“In the Heights” is a cleverly crafted mixture of comedy and heart set to a lusty new beat, with Grammy Award-winning music and lyrics, and a book by 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Hudes. For this production, San Diego REP once again collaborates with the talented dance and theatre students SCPA and a live 20 piece orchestra.
“Jai Rodriguez was cast because his audition was a breath of joy and musicality filled with a giant amount of heart – exactly what this emotionally potent story calls for,” said Woodhouse.
About “XChange Xperience,” the Collaboration with SCPA
“In the Heights” is the fourth collaboration between San Diego REP and the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, the team that made “Hairspray” (2010), “The Who’s TOMMY” (2011), and “Zoot Suit” (2012) – all mega-hits on the Lyceum Stage. “Our goal was to find a way to include a larger production within our season offerings while providing invaluable experience to students considering careers as professional artists,” said Woodhouse. “Students interested in working on stage, in the band or off-stage went through a rigorous selection process; and to our knowledge, there is no other type of collaboration on stage in the U.S.”
Those selected rehearse and perform on the REP’s stage in a fully professional musical, working every step of the way with professional performers, designers and crew. Student participants rise to the challenge of working at the professional level by hard work, dedication, and sheer desire. “The professionals, somewhat to their surprise, became mentors to the students and were truly inspired by working with them,” described Woodhouse. “What started out as an informal partnership with SCPA has now evolved into a formalized mentoring process through workshops and additional training opportunities.”
About San Diego REPertory Theatre
San Diego REPertory Theatre (San Diego REP) produces intimate, exotic, provocative theatre. We promote a more inclusive community through vivid works that nourish progressive political and social values and celebrate the multiple voices of our region. Founded in 1976, San Diego REPertory Theatre is downtown San Diego’s resident theatre, promoting a more inclusive community through work that nourishes progressive political and social values. The company produces and hosts over 300 events and performances year-round on its three stages at the Lyceum Theatre. Since moving to the Lyceum, the REP has produced 39 main stage productions by Latino playwrights, and more than 40 world premieres. The company has received more than 200 awards for artistic excellence from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle, Patté Theatre Awards, NAACP, Backstage West, Dramalogue, and StageSceneLA. In 2005, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle presented the REP with the Craig Noel Award “For 30 Years of Artistic Dedication to Downtown and Diversity.” San Diego REPertory Theatre feeds the curious soul. To learn more about San Diego REPertory Theatre, to purchase tickets, or make a donation, visit www.sdrep.org.