SNAP! Productions and South High Magnet School will present the Midwest premiere of Lin Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights” this summer.
I see I have your undivided attention.
Before Lin Manuel Miranda became a megastar for his smash hit “Hamilton,” he was merely a star after his 2008 hit “In the Heights” was nominated for thirteen Tony awards, winning four: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestration. It won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, and was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The musical is a raucous portrait of urban life in Washington Heights, centered on Will Usnavi (named on one of the first things his parents saw when they arrived in America; a ship with a “US Navy” sign on it), the owner of a bodega who dreams of hitting it big and returning to his native Dominican Republic. The musical had been on the radar of Michal Simpson, SNAP!’s artistic director, for years. But the show is set in a primarily Dominican-American neighborhood in New York City. Casting would be a huge challenge.
Then Rebecca Noble, the visual and performing arts coordinator at South High Magnet School, called. “In the Heights” was on her radar as well. “We saw it on Broadway 2008, and I thought, ‘This is South!’” Noble knew Simpson well from their days with the Dundee Dinner Theater. SNAP! Productions had just been recognized by Playbill as one of 15 regional theaters nationwide leading the way for diversity and tolerance. Noble wondered if “SNAP!” would be interested in collaborating with South High Magnet School?
Simpson says he jumped at the opportunity. “South High is the Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School for the Omaha Public Schools. Their music and arts programs are awesome and the school is so diverse. There’s lots of talent and lots of enthusiasm. What better community to do the show?” Noble agrees. “I want our students to be able to interact more with others in the theater community, especially adults in the community.” “In the Heights” fits the bill perfectly. “The kids all know the music. All of it,” says Noble.
Michal Simpson will direct, with music direction by South’s vocal music director, Tyler Gruttemeyer. An outstanding design staff includes Matt Bross (scenic design), Josh Mullady (lights and sound design), and Courtney Stein (choreography). Students will have an opportunity to participate with the designers in workshops leading up to the production. The cast list has not been released, but performers will include South students and alumni, as well as students from UNO, UNL, Creighton, Papillion, Westside, Mars, North, and Bryan. The production will be performed in South High School’s 650-seat proscenium theater, in the heart of South Omaha. Pair the musical with one of the many great nearby restaurants or food trucks for a perfect evening in South O.
“In the Heights,” produced by SNAP! Productions in collaboration with South High Magnet School, will run for one weekend only, from June 29 through July 2. Curtain is 7:30 pm Thursday through Saturday, with a 2:00 pm matinee on Sunday. All tickets are $20, and proceeds will be shared between South’s Visual and Performing Arts program and SNAP! Productions. Check SNAP! Productions’ Facebook page and website for updated information about reservations. Their website is located at: http://www.snapproductions.com/. The South High Magnet School Theater is located at 4519 South 24th Street in Omaha.