'The Color Purple', 'In The Heights' make local debuts this week

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:00 am
comfortable with salsa,” Becton says. “Most of my experience has been with gospel, jazz, classical and traditional Broadway music. Hearing salsa and playing it are two very different things.”

Arielle Jacobs is anything but new to “In the Heights.” She was the last actress to play Nina on Broadway, when the show closed two years ago. She’ll play Nina here.

She says hearing Usnavi’s opening rap will take her back to her first Tampa rehearsal with the orchestra for the national tour.

“The first time you hear all those instruments and voices in the same room it’s so exhilarating and magical,” she says, blushing a little.

This is the second February that Fanelli has taken over the dinner-theater stage. Last year, it was “Big River,”  which, like “In the Heights,” features alumni from his Lighthouse Youth Theater working with professional actors and dancers.

Fanelli says he understands that “In the Heights” is a risky proposition at the dinner theater, but he says the show has great heart and a host of people who have a strong connection to the work.

“Anyone who has been involved with it is happy to come back and be a part of this,” Fanelli says. “They bend over backwards to help and to make sure that you understand this is what the show is and what it represents. I take that very seriously and I need to treat that with real care and make sure that I am true to what this show represents and what it’s supposed to be.”