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'In the Heights'

DATE: Thursday, August 16, 2018

HCC to hold auditions for the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical Aug. 21-22

Cast of the HCC production of 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 this fall and is now seeking performers who want to star in it.

Auditions will be held Tuesday, Aug. 21, and Wednesday, Aug. 22, from 2 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. each day, in HCC's Leslie Phillips Theater on the second floor of the Fine & Performing Arts building, with possible callbacks on Friday, Aug. 24, from 2 to 5 p.m.  

Auditions will consist of readings from the script (copies are available in room C214 of the FPA building) and singing (16 bars from any song from the original production). Performers should also come prepared to dance. 

While auditions are open to all, preference will be given to those with a connection to HCC or to Holyoke Public Schools.

"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."

There are 12 speaking roles and about an equal number of ensemble parts. Ensemble auditions will be held early in September 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."

The musical will be performed at HCC eight times over two weeks,  Nov. 8-10 and Nov. 15-17.

"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: The cast of the HCC Theater Department production of In the Heights.