The musical In The Heights is coming to the Lake Nona High School Auditorium. The show won four Tony’s in 2008, including Best Musical. This is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical; he is more famously known for his musical Hamilton. According to TheGuidetoMusicalTheatre.com, In the Heights explores three days in the character’s lives in the New York City Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights. The score features hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul music.
Veteran Gail Chase directed the musical. In the Heights marks her 20th major production at Lake Nona High School since it opened its doors in 2009. According to Ms. Chase, In the Heights is the story of the family you choose. “These students are my chosen family, and so it is a celebration of all of us!”
Lake Nona High School presents quality theater. At Thespian District Festival, Lake Nona High School’s one-act In Plain Sight was selected as one of the top four one-acts. It will go on to represent the district at the Thespian State Festival and will be performed at the Orlando Fringe Festival. Additionally, their large group musical number “Joy of the Lord” won Critic’s Choice and will be performed at opening ceremonies at state in front of 7,000 students. Lake Nona High School students have the opportunity to learn and participate in high-quality theater without leaving their neighborhood.
To give the most students the opportunity to perform, Ms. Chase has double cast the musical. It takes a lot of hard work, but she says the bright side is a cast member is usually around to rehearse if the other cast member has a conflict.
I visited prior to the set being fully built, and I was able to see the technicians busy painting, sawing and building. One of my neighbor’s daughters, Addie Jagnow, greeted me when she saw me arrive. She was painting, and as a freshman at Lake Nona High School, she is excited to participate in the spring musical. I also spoke to Alec Hampshire, who is the build captain for In the Heights. He was drilling boards and said, “Theater changed my future plans and taught me that I’m a good leader. I want to go into carpentry and build things.”
I was fortunate enough to speak to Angel Gavillan, who will portray Usnavi. The high school senior is excited to represent his culture on stage. He has found theater can say things people may not be willing to talk about. He says In the Heights is a combination of Hispanic culture and hardships many people of working class experience throughout their day-to-day lives. “It’s a story about family and finding yourself.” For Angel, he has found a home in theater. “It is the sole reason why I get out of bed every day. It is what I will continue to do for the rest of my life, and I hope to pass it on to future generations.”
So save the date and come see In the Heights at the Lake Nona High School Auditorium. The show will run April 21, 22, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. and April 23 and 29 at 2:30 p.m. Parking is free, and ticket prices start at $10. For more ticket information, visit https://teachtix.com.