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

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:00 am

If “The Color Purple” is a risk in White Plains, “In the Heights” is a similar risk at the Elmsford dinner theater where it runs through March 17.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Tony-winning best musical is studded with hip-hop and salsa, two styles of music not heard in a venue more accustomed to “My Fair Lady” than Latin beats.

The story centers on  a Washington Heights bodega and the tight-knit community that surrounds it. There’s the rapping bodega owner Usnavi, the first-in-her-family college girl Nina, her parents and Abuela Claudia, the neighborhood’s matriarch. It’s about hopes and dreams.

John Fanelli directs.

Musical director Shelton Becton — who, coincidentally, played keyboards on “The Color Purple” on Broadway — leads a 13-piece band of trumpets, saxes, trombones and “lots of percussion,” he says, adding that he is new to this show.

“The tricky part is getting