Entering the third floor of The Elks, the anteroom of the rehearsal hall is glowing with energy and the striking beauty of this company of actors. And that inner beauty that shines through their eyes and voices creates an aura filling the air with electricity. This is the first day of rehearsal for In The Heights. I can feel my pulse rush at the sight of seeing everyone together for the first time. Finally! Over four and a half months of preparation is realized in the circle of music stands and chairs anchored by the keyboard presided over by Music Director, Tom Vendafreddo. The “Meet & Greet” begins with a warm welcome from Production Stage Manager, Rose Packer, myself and CEO Tim Rater and VP of Marketing Jim Jarvis. The cast and crew, staff and design team introduce themselves and Director Rachel Rockwell addresses the momentous achievement in this gathering and the work ahead. Rachel wants to tell this story deeply and authentically and her enthusiasm and that of her team sends a charge into the room that registers on the faces of everyone. Vendafreddo plays audio clips expertly sourcing the diverse modes of Latin music in the score, heads nodding, feet tapping, rallying the troops practically out of their seats. Costume Designer, Elizabeth Flauto, relates her recent trip to Washington Heights distributing sensational color photographs of her research on the steamy streets of summer. Choreographer Katie Spelman garners a company roar with, “You are all going to dance!” After an hour which seems like a few minutes, we break and then parade across Downer Place, turning heads, stopping a car or two, and then enter through the Stage Door of Paramount Theatre onto the deck, from the wings backstage onto the stage floor. For most of the company, this is their first time…standing there…looking out over the giant wave of some 1800 seats under the spectacular white and blue glass Venetian Art Deco chandelier and embraced by the warm and golden hues of the floor to ceiling tapestry panels depicting Eighteenth Century Romance on the canals of Venice. Gasps, eyes light, smiles flash…the experience goes back with them to the rehearsal hall and full company music rehearsal begins. The very instant they raise their voices together…the sound uncanny in its defining the intent of its existence…except that this miracle occurs time and again…that this is exactly the group that is meant to be here to do this…in all its fullness and richness…so spontaneously! Gratitude for the fortune to have gathered these diverse talents together. We did good. It is some kind of miracle, isn’t it?