Two Tony-winning hits from the last decade are currently enjoying exceptional local revivals, demonstrating once again that Orlando's theaters can be just as great as any on the Great White Way.
When I first saw In the Heights back in 2010, I wrote that the Broadway tour of Lin-Manuel Miranda's breakout hit left me emotionally frio, with its stilted direction and predictable plot. Similarly, I was among those initially skeptical of Orlando Shakes' foray into presenting musical theater, especially after their disappointing Les Miz. Now, after crying uncontrollably through the second act of their incandescent production of In the Heights (running through Oct. 7), I can finally declare myself a fully fledged fan of both.
But beyond the powerhouse performances, two key elements (as elucidated during an opening-night Q&A) drive director Nick DeGruccio's production of In the Heights: authenticity and intimacy.