IN THE HEIGHTS
By Lin-Manuel Miranda
Directed and Choreographed by Luis Salgado
With a Cast of 24 Up-and-Coming NY Actors
WHEN: SAT. APRIL 1 AT 2 PM and 8 PM!
WHERE: Axelrod Performing Arts Center, 100 Grant Ave., Deal Park
TICKETS: $25, $36
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE TICKETS
Working closely with “Hamilton” and “Heights” Tony Award-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, Luis Salgado was the Latin dance choreographer for the Broadway production and also created the role of Jose in the original cast. “My very first journey with this show was an explosion of pride through its movement as I worked next to Andy Blankenbuehler enhancing the choreographic authenticity in numbers like 'Carnaval' and the 'Club' among others.”
Considered one of the foremost Latin dance specialists in the country, Salgado, working with a cast of 24 up-and-coming young professional actors, has been exploring the musical from the ground up. “Working with this cast is a very rewarding adventure…Not only have we explored and built this passionate musical but we have done it in a way where ‘the process’ has been the priority on every step of the journey, allowing a unique ownership of the character and community moments in the show.”
Leading the cast is Jonathan Mousset portraying Usnavi de la Vega. Born of Venezuelan parents in Tampa, Fla., Mousset has been preparing to play the Lin-Manuel role for nearly a decade. “At the beginning I felt immense pressure in playing a role created by one of the most influential people of our generation. I've honestly been preparing for this moment since the cast recording came out in 2008, so the challenge has been letting go of this idea I've had of the character for so long and sincerely drawing from my own experiences, because this character IS me!”
The female lead, Elizabeth Ritacco, grew up in Toms River, NJ, and will be playing Nina Rosario. Like the other 23 members of the cast, Ritacco is making her APAC debut in “In the Heights” and has been loving the experience. “Within the first month of rehearsal, I had found that Luis has challenged me to find things within me that I never knew I was capable of. He encourages us all to embrace failure, to explore the humanity of every character and their relationships and to never stop connecting and playing with each other.… I've grown ten feet as a performer and as a person, and I have Luis and his huge heart to thank for all of it.”
Salgado, a Puerto Rican American who lives in Manhattan, was honored to be a part of the original Broadway production team and cast and is thrilled to be sharing his own authentic vision of the show with NJ audiences. “For me, ‘In the Heights’ has always been a project of the heart. It elevates my spirit to know that a show honors my Latino community in a pure celebration of the people and heritage.” Working with the APAC cast has enabled him to find new resonances in the story, the music and the dance. “It's in so many ways an ensemble dream piece the same way it was when I first experienced it. I really invite people to come take part of all the growth these actors are bringing with honesty to the stage.”
Salgado’s team includes assistant director-choreographer John Alix and associate director Valeria Cossu, musical director Walter “Bobby” McCoy, associate musical director David Maglione, production consultant Heather Hogan, set designer Andrew D’Agostino, lighting designer Robert Rutt, sound designer Gerry Gironda, costume designers Fred Mayo and Debra Thime and properties manager Susan Bloir. In addition to Jonathan Mousset (Usnavi) and Elizabeth Ritacco (Nina), the cast includes: Maité Uzal (Abuela Claudia), Laura Lebron (Vanessa), Jordan J. Adams (Benny), Matthew Oster (Sonny), Shadia Fairuz (Camila Rosario), José Fernando (Kevin Rosario), Tanya DeLeón (Daniela), Danelle Rivera (Carla), Joomin Hwang (Graffiti Pete) and Roberto Araujo (Piragua Guy) and ensemble members Joelle Anderson, Adam Bourque, Aaron Cobos, Miguel Flores, Myriam Gadri, Andre Malcolm, Marcel March, Bryan Ernesto Menjivar, Amaya Perea, Jenna Perez, Nathalia Raigosa and Susan Ramirez.