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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"In the Heights" @ Stumptown Stages

Please bear with a little bit of obsessiveness on my part, I can virtually guarantee that you won't find this information anywhere else: There is one play that unites 3 of 4 of  Stumptown's Current Season, Paul Simon's ill-fated musical "The Capeman."

Stumptown Show 1: "Carrie" a flop of legendary proportions that is often mentioned alongside "The Capeman," both have also had recent revivals.

Stumptown Show 3: "Smokey Joe's Cafe" was directed on Broadway by show-doctor Jerry Zaks, who was selected because of his experience with '50s music from that show.

And finally, Stumptown's latest show "In the Heights," known for breaking "The Capeman Curse." It was the first show featuring a predominately Latino cast since the failure of " The Capeman."

"In the Heights" is a production that very much deserved to break that barrier. It has a vibrant score by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is  garnering wide acclaim for "Hamilton." Both of those shows feature Miranda's  truly unique brand of hip-hop. (It's not often that Cole Porter gets name-dropped in hip-hop, and that now seems like a minor feat compared to the genre-bending of "Hamilton." )

Stand-out numbers include:"It Wont be Long Now" and "When You're Home." This next statement is hard for me to write, given my love for "The Capeman," but it also refreshing to see Latinos given a throughly positive portrayal, rather than the knife-wielding thugs of "West Side Story" and again, with "The Capeman."

"In the Heights" is an exuberant show, and for that it must be admired.

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