'In the Heights' packs a wallop in WestchesterPublished: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:00 am By: David Begelman Source: Danbury News Times
When director John Fanelli's high-energy cast members propel themselves in dance numbers, you're not particularly riveted on whether Daniela (a fetching Ariana Valdes) closes her salon, or how Usnavi (an arresting and sprightly Perry Young) and Vanessa (a determined Gizel Jimenez) make each other jealous, whether or not Sonny (a commanding Greg Laucella) commissions a graffiti mural of the matriarch Abuela Claudia (in a stunning characterization by Christina Aranda) or whether the hardworking and devoted Benny (a steadfast Fatye) will make it with Nina against all odds (he's an African-American in a predominantly Latino barrio).
You just want triple-threat performers to start doing their thing again to Lin-Manuel Miranda's music, as directed by Shelton Becton.
The Westchester production of "In the Heights" is the first production of the musical in the wider NYC area since the show closed on Broadway. It has the distinction of showcasing a uniformly accomplished cast who can sing and dance salsa/hip-hop/rap like there's no end in sight. The level of aptitude here is high, and you're hard pressed to determine which of the performers are Actors' Equity members and which are not. As though it made any discernable difference in this production.
David Begelman is a freelance writer in Connecticut and can be reached at email@example.com.Read more: http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/In-the-Heights-packs-a-wallop-in-Westchester-4294727.php#ixzz2LYeNTnQC