Way back on February 9 (hence why this review is shorter than usual, I don't remember details) I saw In the Heights at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. It was a last minute decision to go and I only knew that the show had won some Tony awards (including the biggie of Best Musical in 2008) and the brief summary that was on the website. What I couldn't understand was that the final tour date had happened almost a year ago, which I suppose indicated the Toronto production was not the original post Broadway tour. But really it didn't matter.
The set was a street in Washington Heights, New York with the Brooklyn Bridge (ok, I'm guessing, but a bridge none the less) in the background, brownstone type buildings complete with balconies (important for the Romeo and Juliet type scene at sunrise, although with a happier ending) and businesses on the ground floor. There wasn't a large open stage area, but the cast is rather small (12 main characters and a few additional ensemble players) and they made the most of the space they had.
|Characters Benny, Nina, and Usnavi|
I was disappointed the program didn't list the songs or mention the band. It's always great to take a peek into the pit at intermission. This one might have had about 5 people: the conductor who also played keyboards, a wind player with saxes, a flute and clarinet all around him. another keyboardist, brass player and guitars/bass. There are clips here of some of the songs which are bouncy or heartfelt and fit into the storyline moments so well.
Here's to last minute decisions turn out to be fun evenings, cheers!