“In the Heights” graces the NWSA stage, bringing the production full circle

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Alex Lakamore playing the piano.The New World School of the Arts High School music theater students present the award-winning musical In the Heights, just in time to welcome the holiday season. With music and lyrics by Lin Manuel-Miranda, book by Quiara Alegria Hudes, and conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights is the story of a close-knit Hispanic neighborhood in Washington Heights, New York.
 
Opening performance – In the Heights: Friday, November 30, 7:30 PM. Additional presentations: December 1, 7, 8 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, December 2 and 9; 2:00 PM. Louise O. Gerrits Theater. 25 NE 2nd Street, 8th floor, Miami. General admission is $10; Students and seniors $10. Tickets available at http://nwsa.mdc.edu/ For more information please call 305-237-3541.
 
In particular, In the Heights come full circle to NWSA for a very special reason - Tony-Award winning orchestrator of the musical, Alex Lacamoire, had his own artistic beginnings at the very stage where the musical will be performed – as a music student of New World School of the Arts in the late 1980s. In addition, there were two other NWSA theater alumni in the original Broadway premiere, including Andrea Burns (1989) and Nina Lafarga (1997). With 13 Tony nominations, In the Heights undeniably became Broadway's golden ticket in 2008, winning a total of four Tony Awards. Alex Lacamoire took home one of the coveted statues for Best Orchestration. He was also co-arranger, conductor and musical director for the musical. In the Heights also earned a 2009 Grammy Award for its original Broadway cast album.
 
“At its core, In the Heights is a musical centered around the ideas of chasing your dreams and finding your true home.  For some of the characters, home is a place to run away from and for others it is a place that is idealized,” said Matthew Buffalo, director of the musical at NWSA. “In the 10 years since In the Heights opened on Broadway, the issues facing this Manhattan community, as well as many other communities nationwide, still persists today.  We still see the effects of gentrification on a community, with rising rents and home prices which force its inhabitants to reconsider what is home.”
 
Named after a U.S. Navy vessel, Usnavi is the epitome of hard work and perseverance. A sensitive young man with a shy streak and a colorful personality, he draws his strength from Abuela Claudia and without realizing it, becomes a dynamic role model for other young men in the barrio. After a series of unfortunate events, which he believes will lead to the inevitable demise of his precious neighborhood, Usnavi finally realizes the pivotal task with which he has been entrusted, as the warden of his culture. Over the course of three days, Usnavi, along with his neighbors, fantasize about winning it big and the possibility of closing shop in their small familiar surroundings to venture into the unknown in search of a better life. They soon realize that what they so eagerly seek can be summed in just a few city blocks and has been with them all along. At the end, all they have is more than worth fighting for.
 
About NWSA: A Florida center of excellence in the visual and performing arts, NWSA provides a comprehensive program of artistic, creative and academic development through a curriculum that reflects the rich multicultural state of Florida. With programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art, Dance, Music and Theater, NWSA offers four-year BFA and BM college degrees, as well as the high school diploma. Through its rigorous curriculum and conservatory-style teaching NWSA empowers its students to become leaders in the arts. New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts. It is an educational partnership of Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.
 
About NWSA’s Theater program: The New World School of the Arts theater program is dedicated to the professional training of talented and committed students interested in pursuing a performing career in theater and music theater, offering students an opportunity to work in a hands-on intensive, physically demanding, artistically challenging and exciting environment. Guided by faculty who are professional actors, directors, playwrights and designers, the curriculum is a progressive journey toward the ownership of a personal technique and a comprehensive methodology of working. The faculty guides the student through the discovery and exploration of self, the learning of diverse techniques used in our craft, intensive rehearsal process, and finally the application of this knowledge into dramatic forms and styles in productions. The NWSA College BFA program culminates each year with showcases in Miami and in New York City. Information about the NWSA Theater program is available by calling 305-237-3260, by visiting http://nwsa.mdc.edu/ or by calling the main office at 305-235-3135.
 
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