Review: 'In the Heights' in Elmsford

Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 7:00 am By: JAMES F. COTTER Source: Times Herald Record
Gizel Jimenez also declares "It Won't Be Long Now" before she has her own place in the West Village.

Arielle Jacobs has Nina confess in "Breathe" how she has misspent her time at school and later in "Everything I Know" how she will reform when she returns to Stanford. In "Benny's Dispatch," Upbeat FaTye pictures how he will run his own business. In Act 2, Young and Jimenez pledge the future of Usnavi and Vanessa with "Champagne," while Jacobs and FaTye trace the course of Nina and Benny's relationship with "Sunrise" and "When the Sun Goes Down."

Solos tell each person's story. Aranda reflects on Abuela's struggle for survival as a maid and hard worker in "Pacencia y Fe." As Kevin, Benjamin Perez recalls in "Inutil" buying his own company and hoping for his daughter's success, while Nicole Paloma Sarro as his wife, Camila, sings in "Siempre" how she has always stood by her family.

Exuberance abounds

Ariana Valdes makes Daniela, the exotic hair salon owner, a dynamo who leads her employees in an energetic "No Me Diga" in a defiant "Don't tell me" declaration of independence. Joey Sanzaro as the Piragua Guy pushes his cart with exuberant salesmanship, and Voltaire Wade-Green as Graffiti Pete does fancy dance moves with amazing agility. "Carnaval del Barrio" is a show-stopping ensemble number led by Valdes as Daniela.

Credit the set design by Steve Loftus with authentic barrio effects and seedy storefronts with the George Washington Bridge in the background, and credit too for the costumes of Maria Castaldo for achieving the same note of authenticity and local flavor.