See Village Theatre’s percolating production of In the Heights and be baffled

See Village Theatre’s percolating production of In the Heights and be baffled anew at why this show hasn’t earned the fanatical popularity of Wicked or inspired the critical orgasms of The Book of Mormon. Or, for pity’s sake, been moviefied. Musicals are obviously no studio’s priority right now, but 60 years ago, Lin-Manuel Miranda (music and lyrics) and Quiara Alegria Hudes (book) would have inked a Hollywood deal during intermission of opening night, so solid and surefire is their 2008 story of the changes that beset residents of Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood during two sultry summer days.

My Mexican-American plus-one wasn’t entirely forgiving of everyone’s delivery of the script’s frequent Spanish, but he had no other complaints about the cast, and neither do I. The show’s challenges are not only emotional—from one scene to the next, it’s a roller-coaster from humor to anger to tragedy to salsa-driven joy—but technical too. In particular, the opening and closing numbers of Act 1 mix dialogue sung, spoken, and rapped in intricate succession with dance and, in the finale, a blacked-out stage. Nobody missed a beat of either kind, even though the show’s packed with incident and necessarily fast-paced. But everything lands; everything works; every song, scene, and bit gets its most impactful tempo and weight as guided by director Eric Ankrim. (We have to assume that the ensemble was properly vetted by the Ethnicity Police who protested The Mikado this summer, and that they gathered from the actors all the blood tests and family histories required to ensure that everyone is racially authentic for their roles. Though some of those cast photos do look suspiciously pale; Village Theatre ought to brace itself for picketers.) Village Theatre, 303 Front St. N. (Issaquah), 425-392-2202, $35–$67. Runs Wed.—Sun. Ends Oct. 26. (Then Moves to Everett Oct. 31–Nov. 23.)