In the Heights

You won’t leave In the Heights, the touring 2008 Tony-winner for Best Musical, humming any of composer/lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tunes. You’ll be far too suffused with joy to cavil much, though, about melody. Heights addresses hope, class, and change among various characters in a Washington Heights neighborhood with a series of ascending pop credos and a heartfelt simplicity that wouldn’t challenge Sesame Street viewers. Yet it also does what every musical should do (but so few of late accomplish): make you a citizen of a unified theatrical world, crafted from words, music, and movement. Even without a single “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” the show still provides an old-school Oklahoma! uplift that could captivate entire continents. An electrifying Act One climax begins on a hot summer night at a club and ends, understandably, in a city-wide blackout. (kudos to choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler for using dance as a natural expression of urban forward momentum.) Credit Miranda for the ease with which he occasionally weaves an authentic, affable rap into his score; then thank the cast for high-wattage warmth that rushes you back to your own community armed with an ecstatic, hopeful glow. STEVE WIECKING [Also see Kevin Phinney's review.]

Tue., Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Sept. 28. Continues through Oct. 17, 2010

 
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