I went to see my old high school’s production of “In The Heights,” and had some very conflicting thoughts about the way the directors went about the performance. However regardless of personal opinions about the show, I thought the overall concept of the musical was executed very well, and the students had obviously worked very hard to perfect their musical numbers, as well as their ability to portray their characters. Lin-Manuel Miranda does not compose simple pieces for his musicals, especially with his unique style of mixing components of rap with traditional theatrical style. Although some of the solo pieces could be a bit difficult to understand, the actors still kept the energy alive on stage and portrayed the story with their movements, expressions, and body language, keeping the audience engaged at all times. The cast performed In The Heights wonderfully and it was great being able to see my friends and previous peers act and sing their little hearts out. Seeing them act out the theme of the play did not excite me so much.
In The Heights is a musical that revolves around the social and economic challenges that are prominent within the Hispanic and Latinx community. My home town is predominantly white, with 86.3% of its population identifying as Caucasian and only 8.37% Hispanic. This, I do not have much issue with, however the statistics are even further apart when you specifically look at my high school’s demographics. I would have liked to believe that the directors at my high school took this into consideration when deciding what musical to put on for the semester, however it seems they did not care too much about whitewashing an entire cast. Perhaps they were trying to raise awareness of the adversity that is often faced in the Latinx community to the audience, or wanted to become more knowledgeable of Hispanic culture, but as someone who has endured many unjust encounters within the school system because of my race, I do not believe this is the case. Especially when one of the cast members just copied and pasted the Wikipedia description of the musical when asked why this production was important to them.
Hopefully, I am wrong with my assumptions and the cast did learn valuable information throughout the production, but one thing I do know is that it is apparent In The Heights helped them to develop greatly as singers, dancers, actors, and overall performers.