LINDEN — In The Heights, winner of four 2008 Tony Awards® and the 2008 Grammy® Award for Best Musical Show Album, is coming to Linden for the first time this summer, but this town’s connection has much deeper roots.
Jon Rua, who recently originated the role of “Jesus Pena” on Broadway in Hands On A Hardbody, graduated from Linden High School in 2001 and went on to appear in the ensemble of the premiere off-Broadway production of In The Heights. He also starred in the Broadway run’s closing months with turns as “Sonny,” “Graffiti Pete” and “Usnavi,” the starring role made famous by the show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.
With a multi-ethnic cast of 26 ranging from their teens into their 40s, this production represents a variety of cultures and outlooks on life just as In The Heights shows us the diversity of this small Hispanic community.
Alicia Cordero, a resident of Linden who has grown up as a part of Mystic Vision Players since 1998, plays the leading role of ‘Nina Rosario.’ When she first her about In The Heights’ original Broadway run, Cordero thought “the idea of a show so focused on a very specific neighborhood and using the music of that population was so different and interesting.”
Growing up half-Latina gave Cordero a special outlook on her character. “Her struggle to figure out how to tell her parents that she hasn’t lived up to their expectations and her not knowing where she belonged in this community anymore when she returned felt honest and real to me due to my own experiences.”
Written by Miranda & Quiara Alegría Hudes, directed by Howard M. Whitmore with choreography by Melanie Jefferson and music direction by Carl Phillips, In The Heights runs from July 19 – 27 in the Linden High School Auditorium presented by the Linden Cultural Committee. For tickets, call 908-486-4144 or visit www.mysticvisionplayers.com.
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