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'In the Heights'

DATE: Thursday, November 8, 2018

END DATE: Saturday, November 10, 2018

TIME: 7:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Leslie Phillips Theater, FPA Building

ADMISSION: $10 general admission; $8 students and seniors; $5 HCC community

Musical celebrates Latino culture, music and dance

Cast members rehearse a scene from In the Heights

Before his "Hamilton" became a Broadway phenomenon, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote "In the Heights," a Tony-award winning musical celebrating Latino culture, music and dance.

The Holyoke Community College Theater Department, in collaboration with Mount Holyoke College, will bring "In the Heights" to the stage for a full-scale production Nov. 8-10, and Nov. 15-17. Show times are 7 p.m. each night with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sat., Nov. 10, in HCC's Leslie Phillips Theater.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 students and seniors, and $5 for members of the HCC community with a valid ID. The Friday, Nov. 16, performance will be ASL interpreted.

Auditions for the main speaking roles were held in August. Cast members include HCC students and alumni, community members and students from Holyoke High School.

"We want to celebrate the Latino community at HCC and the Latino community in the city of Holyoke," said director Patricia Sandoval. "We want to celebrate the talents of the community and give visibility to the youth of Holyoke. Bringing this show to campus does just that."

Ensemble auditions will be held later this month on a day and time to be determined.

HCC music professor and college chorale director Ellen Cogen will serve as musical director for the production, and HCC will be hiring a choreographer to help with the dancing and a 10-piece band to perform the score.

The production is supported by grants from the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts (MiFA) and MassHumanities.

Alberto Sandoval-Sanchez, professor emeritus at Mount Holyoke College, an expert in Latino Studies, will serve as a consultant for the production and scholar-in-residence at HCC for the semester.

"It's incredibly exciting," said Sandoval-Sanchez. "We're expecting large audiences because it's so contemporary and it has so much to offer young audiences."

"In the Heights," which Miranda started writing as a college sophomore, is set around Fourth of July celebrations in the primarily Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City. The original Broadway production was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won four: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album and was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.    

PHOTO by CHRIS YURKO: Cast members rehearse a scene from HCC production of In the Heights.