Monday, February 23, 2009

Review - In the Heights

I've decided that I would start documenting the various plays and shows I watch, my thoughts, and so on, mostly because my memory fails me. So here we go!

What I saw: In the Heights (New York City)
When: Saturday February 21, 2009, 8pm

I was astonished. Admittedly, I had low expectations. I do love a good melody. My only exposure to "In the Heights" was not, egads, from the 2008 Tony awards. I way traveling that day and my DVR did not record the show correctly.

No, my only exposure was the Forbidden Broadway (Goes to Rehab) riff on the show this year. And it was all rap. So, predictably, I thought "Good heavens the Tonys have over-Rented and picked a totally rap 'musical' as its standard-bearer"... Thank goodness I was wrong.

I saw a gorgeous set. I gasped at the dancing. Was this indeed Broadway? It was amazing. Salsa, Marenge, and more! I had 3rd row seats and I belatedly think that everyone in the balconies and in rows 4 through 40 were watching my butt wiggle-waggle. I loved the music.

Now, the book as just "eh". It definitely good have been better. Maybe a good Sondheim injection. But oy, the lyrics and the insanely inversive, heck MALversive rhymes - - it was sheer magic! I loved it! When do you hear "business" and "hipsters" sung as though they actualy rhymed? Or "awning" and "morning"... And it worked!

Thank heavens I'm not a cynic. Cynicism is antithetical to my moral being. And this musical demanded that you stamp out cynicism because you felt GOOD afterwards. Bill Clinton couldn't wax sentimentally about his hometown of "Hope" like "In the Heights". This play, without ever saying hope, in English or in Spanish, practically screamed "hope hope hope" with every soaring note, with every shimmying hip, and with every aye aye aye.

So yes, it may be a bit sentimental about the plight of these good, hard-working people. But good heavens, you can't help but love these characters for trying.

For those who know how much I adore "Drowsy Chaperone", this play is not about a nod and a wink. It sincerely loves its characters and wants you to connect to them not because you feel like they do, but because you've struggled like they have.

I just wish I had a good Latin rhythm behind me my whole life. After watching "In the Heights", I can't help but feel that I could have survived my trials better if my toes were tapping to an infection tune.

Paciencia y Fe (Patience and Faith)!

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