2017 has been a great year for Helix’s arts program, and the upcoming school musical, In The Heights, a musical from the typical Grease and West Side Story genre will be coming to Helix soon, sometime around February.
In The Heights, a Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator of Hamilton) focuses on the community of Washington Heights, New York.
Director, Paul Reams, summarized the musical as, “a largely Dominican and Puerto Rican populated neighborhood, and [the story is] about some of the struggles of that neighborhood and the celebration of that neighborhood as well.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, an award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor, with a 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and 11 Tony Awards, grew up in Manhattan and is of Puerto Rican background, himself.
The great music and contemporary feel (with a hip hop and Latin influence) sets this musical aside from the “typical musical theater-y,” Reams confessed, and he hopes this is something that will appeal to students.
“Helix is such a diverse campus and I was hoping that this show would attract a diverse group of auditioners,” he said. “I wanted to add a piece that would feel diverse.”
As written, there are only 15 people in the cast, yet unsurprisingly, with the great talent Helix students offer, there were more that fifty students that auditioned.
Along with an ensemble that both Reams and Michelle Tolvo-Chan (choir teacher and musical director of the show) decided to add, there will be a total of about 35 people in the cast.
“We didn’t run out of talent, we ran out of room on stage,” Reams wrote to the students who unfortunately weren’t casted.
Nevertheless, the excitement regarding this musical seems never-ending.
For the first time, Helix is renting a stage set that will come in during Christmas break (usually, Reams and Gregg Osborn are in charge of building the scenery).
The National Touring Company of the production (literally, the best set for the show that exists in the world) will be coming to Helix. In other words, the set that Broadway actors use will be at our high school.
So, as Reams declared, “it’s a really exciting opportunity for our students. It’s one of the things I’m most excited about.”