There’s nothing wrong with the Playhouse’s production of IN THE HEIGHTS. The production is actually quite good, but I’m not fond of the show itself. So, I’m not sure how fair it is for me to review it. But I’ll tell you what I thought, since this is my site and the Playhouse was kind enough to provide me the tickets.
I think there are too many characters, most of which are not developed fully enough to invest emotionally in their arcs. I’m not a fan of the music. (Don’t worry, I probably won’t like HAMILTON that much either when I eventually see it. You can unfriend me on FaceBook if you want.) I’m certain I’m in the very slim minority. I talked to some friends; one said he didn’t understand the show until he’d visited Washington Heights. Perhaps I just don’t have enough context. Perhaps I was too tired from only four hours of sleep the night before. Perhaps it was the seat I was in, which seemed more narrow than others I’ve sat in at the Marx Theatre. (I’m very sorry to lady in front of me, for kneeing and kicking her in the back repeatedly.)
That said, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s co-production (with theaters in Milwaukee and Seattle) of this Lin Manuel-Miranda musical is joyous, raucous, and as professional as it gets. The band sounded great. The dancers, while sometimes forced into some silly choreography, were on point. And the vocals were somewhere between very good and spectacular.
Here’s a great review from Scott Cain of Talkin’ Broadway. And another from David Lyman of the Cincinnati Enquirer. These guys are experts; trust them. Go see it. I hope they sell out every performance.
IN THE HEIGHTS runs through February 17th at the Playhouse in the Park. Click here for tickets.