‘In the Heights’ is a must-see at Walton Arts Center

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 312 views 

“That question of finding home is not only a geographical one- but really, an emotional one.”
 — Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of In the Heights

The idea of home is something that can’t be succinctly explained. More than just the basic definition of “where one lives,” the notion of home elicits a personal and poignant response. Set in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, In the Heights is the smash Broadway sensation that follows three generations in their search for their place in this world.

The brainchild of Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights is a shining example of the modern take on musical theater that is becoming more and more prevalent. The score incorporates free style rap, hip-hop, salsa, pop and rock, while including the more traditional powerhouse, vocally driven, musical theater numbers. The production also features stellar choreography and impassioned performances. Debuting on Broadway in 2008, the show was nominated for an impressive 13 Tony Awards, taking home four in the categories of Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations. 

In the Heights takes place in a vibrant Latino-American community struggling to hold on to traditions while forging new ones at the same time. The neighborhood is a tight-knit group of people featuring colorful characters who are ingrained in each others’ lives. Whether welcoming home the barrio’s star student from her first year of college, collectively daydreaming about winning the lottery or just the standard beauty shop gossip, this is a community that is alive with passion and devotion to one another.

Finding a place in the world where you belong is a universal concept and one in which ensemble member, Chloe Campbell, has a unique viewpoint.

Hailing from London, England, Campbell moved to New York City only last May. A veteran stage dancer, she joined the touring company of In the Heights in October and describes the story as one of “finding happiness where you are now, while bringing your roots and the traditions of where you’re from to that place.”

In addition to the dynamic score and spirited cast, Campbell says that the dancing is a major part in making the show a success, saying: “It’s absolutely full of energy. It doesn’t stop, it keeps going.

“The choreography really moves the show along, emphasizing an emotion or feeling through the dancing and the music.”

In the Heights is making its Arkansas debut at the Walton Arts Center on Thursday (March 8), followed by immediately by its Arkansas farewell performance on the next night. This is a “can’t miss,” two-night event that will appeal to all audiences.

Community, change, family, hope and traditions are all aspects of what home can mean to a person. It’s a subject that’s relatable to all, and not entirely new in the musical theater world (Fiddler on the Roof, anyone?). In the Heights brings fresh perspective and a modern twist to the familiar theme and does so with passion and, most of all, with joy.

Tickets and information can be found on the Walton Arts Center's website.