“In the Heights” at Green Valley Theatre Company

This is a first. Never before have I reviewed a show that was completely sold out.

I don’t mean the first performance being sold out. Or opening weekend being sold out. I mean the entire run of the show.

What’s even more remarkable is that the show was sold out before opening night.

I was lucky enough to attend the final dress rehearsal, and even though my review is largely useless at this point, I feel I have to say a few things about this production.

WOW.

In the absolute best way – WOW.

Because of its track record, I always expect a lot of out Green Valley Theatre Company’s productions. And they have outdone themselves on this one.

The musical itself is excellent. Each of the main characters has a well-developed story arc, and every song either moves the plot forward or develops the characters.

The cast is extraordinarily strong. The leads are perfect in each of their roles (Elio Gutierrez as Usnavi, Mariana Seda as Nina Rosario, Christina Castro as Vanessa, Ryan Allen as Benny, and Casey Camacho as Sonny are among the highlights), and they are backed up by one of the best ensembles I have ever seen in a community theater. Jacob Montoya’s choreography was engaging, and was performed extraordinarily well.

The set is well-designed, and the lighting is effective and quite pretty. The nine-member orchestra, led by Peter Kagstrom, absolutely rocks. David Taylor plays keys, and directed the sharp vocals for the production. The well-practiced harmonies were spot-on throughout the performance.

All in all, this goes on my list of “favorite productions.” I should also start a list of “things that absolutely blew my expectations away,” because this show certainly belongs on that list. Between the show’s excellent content and fantastic execution, I think I may have found a new favorite.

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