A typically head-spinning day today of juggling casting and researching MISS SAIGON. We had an amazing and emotional day of auditions Thursday for IN THE HEIGHTS! (The couple of actors Tim Rater sat in on had him in tears!) We found terrific actors for important roles and I’m thrilled for our audience! Cannot say enough about this show. The music makes you want to move! And here’s an excerpt from some promotional material on the show to give you a special insight into the story:
In the Heights, with a book by Quiara Alegria Hudes, follows a close- knit community of hard-working Latino immigrants as they strive for a better life; search for love; dream the American Dream; and create a haven, a home, in northernmost Manhattan. The central figure in the piece is Usnavi, who, like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, is both leading man and storyteller. In fact, if you change the setting and translate the language into contemporary, urban, Spanish-inflected English, Tevye could be speaking for Usnavi when he tells the audience that everyone in his village is “a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck.” Both shows are about very specific worlds, but the stories that unfold are universal.
“Fiddler is in the DNA of Heights,” says Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created the role of Usnavi on Broadway, and won a Tony award for Best Score. “If you look at our opening number, it’s ‘Tradition’ with hip hop. It’s very deliberately modeled after ‘Tradition.’ Tevye speaks of ‘the circle of our little village,’ and in Heights, Usnavi starts with the business owners and widens the scope, moving on to the people who are important in his life. Fiddler is about a community where nothing’s changed for hundreds of years. Heights is about a community where everything is changing everyday. And if we all come from different communities with our own traditions, what do we take with us, what do we keep? When Jerome Robbins was directing Fiddler, he said, ‘This show is about tradition, and if there’s anything that doesn’t have to do with tradition, it’s out.’ For us, the watchword was ‘home.’ If there was anything in the show that didn’t have to do with the concept of home, we took it out.”
Pretty cool, right?!
Offers for parts in 42ND ST are going out and returning with a top notch cast and again I’m over the moon about the triple threat performances you are going to see!
Friday, we enter the second round of MISS SAIGON auditions while I am formulating the production for our design team and swimming in research! I will share some of my findings with you next time. And, Lord help me, we haven’t even begun to cast RENT! Next month…
Keep a good thought!